Where to buy cheese in Amsterdam
De Kaaskamer, one of Amsterdam’s most popular cheese shops — Photo © Copyright, Anton Hein
The Dutch are often referred to as ‘cheeseheads.’ Though it started out as a slanderous, derogatory term, most of us wear it with pride.
Why not? The Netherlands is among the world’s top producers — and exporters — of cheese, and we eats lots of it ourselves.
Gouda, Edam, Beemster, Maaslander, Leyden, and so on, are household names here. The cheese departments in our supermarkets are large. They carry not just domestic products, but also a great variety of cheese from all across Europe.
While most of us get our cheese at the supermarkets, many also — or exclusively — buy it at street markets, farmers’ markets, or in specialty stores.
One such store that Janet and I frequent ourselves is De Kaaskamer, in the Negen Straatjes (‘Nine small streets’) shopping district in the center of Amsterdam.
This store carries a fantastic variety of authentic, high quality cheeses from all over.
Take a look around:
Understandably, this is a busy place. But the friendly staff is helpful and efficient. Trust me, if you don’t quite know what you’re looking for, ask for their recommendations.
One reason I’m posting this photo and information is that I, like many Amsterdammers, are miffed (to put if mildly) at the large number of tourist trap cheese stores that have opened in the city in recent years.
Shops like De Kaaskamer are authentic, even artisan in nature. As part of the Amsterdam community they serve locals and visitors alike.
But those tourist traps — with their ‘souvenir packaged,’ overpriced wares are places the locals avoid like the plague. So, dear friend, should you.
Want to buy cheese in Amsterdam? Of course you do. But take a hint from the locals and avoid buying cheese at one of the countless tourist trap cheese stores. Instead, get your cheese at a shop like De Kaaskamer.
A Cheese Lover’s Guide to Amsterdam
The Cheese Museum Amsterdam is just around the corner from Anne Frank House on the Northern side of the Prinsengracht. The museum’s friendly staff are trained in the art of cheese making and are happy to share their wisdom on the time-honored techniques behind the Dutch dairy industry. Each guide is dressed in traditional Dutch clothing and will help you choose from their fine selection of products, cutting off chunks of cheese from huge wheels to provide tasters. There are some real delicacies inside the cheese museum, including a vintage gouda that has been matured for four years.
From there it is only a short walk to Singel and its long row of cheese vendors. On the street adjacent to Amsterdam’s floating flower market there are many shops dedicated to cheese. Big names such as Henri Willig and Old Amsterdam sell their produce on this canal side passage, and serve free samples from enormous bowls. Old Amsterdam is particularly popular in North Holland making a variety of gouda that is exceptionally tangy and has a distinctive crumbly texture. The cheese has a delightful mix of sturdy flavors and is somewhere between a strong cheddar and a firm parmesan.
More cheese shops can be found in de Jordaan and de Kaaskamer is less than a kilometer north of the flower market. This store is chucked full of cheese and sells both imported and local varieties, meaning that it is a great place to chow down on some French, or Belgian specialties.
Kaashuis Tromp is also nearby and employs an knowledgeable team of cheese connoisseurs to help customers choose between their organically produced stock.
During the night time restaurants serve a plate of local cheese as either entrées or desserts. Dutch beer and cheese are perfectly matched and most bars in Amsterdam have some sort of cheese plate on its snack menu. Typically, Dutch pubs offer a large cheese board to accompany drinks- a platter that is usually served with a side of mustard for dipping.
Outside of the city center, it’s always worth visiting one of Amsterdam’s daily markets to find a good cheese hit. Albert Cuyp and Dappermarkt have an impressive array of cheese stalls and most vendors are dedicated merchants with strong ties to local farms and distributors.
Towns such as Gouda, Edam and Alkmaar are also relatively close to Amsterdam with cheese markets that make for a great day trip. In these towns it is common to see cheese-merchants dressed up in traditional outfits while trading their produce at weekly markets.
Craving a creamy gouda? Or maybe an extra matured edam? We've got you covered with our cheese lover's guide to Amsterdam.