De Rijp is a village and former island in the Dutch province of North Holland. It is a part of the municipality of Alkmaar, and lies about 10 km northwest of Purmerend, between the Schermer and the Beemster polders. Before the polderingof the lakes surrounding it, De Rijp was famous for its herring industry. Today it is known for its characteristic rijksmonuments, which include some of the oldest wooden houses of North Holland.
As you wander through De Rijp with its beautifully restored 17th century houses, you will appreciate why the famous water engineer Jan Adriaanszoon Leeghwater referred to it as “the finest village in Holland”. Centuries of history are still evident. The unique town hall with its weighing scales and Jan van der Heyden fire pump. The great Gothic church with its 23 stained glass windows. Picturesque farms and half-wooden townhouses all bear witness to the style and glory of the past steeped in a long tradition of whaling fleets and herring fishing. Local guides are pleased to provide more detailed information.
Make sure and visit the museums In ‘t Houten Huis and the Jan Boon Museum or the period town halls of Graft (1613) and De Rijp (1630). Certainly worth seeing is the famous tombstone floor of the Dutch Reformed Church in Graft and the Mennonite church in Noordeinde.
The villages are rich in shops, galleries, artists and excellent restaurants. Bi-annually, De Rijp has become a legend in the region with its Dickens-style Midwinter Festival.
The neighbouring Eilandspolder nature reserve is just waiting for your discovery on foot, bicycle or by boat.
Alkmaar is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland.
Alkmaar has many medieval buildings that are still intact, most notably the tall tower of the Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk, where many people from Alkmaar hold their wedding ceremony.
The other main attraction, especially in the summer months, is Alkmaar’s cheese market at the Waagplein, one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions. The cheese market traditionally takes place on the first Friday in April and the last market of the season is the first Friday in September. Every Friday morning (10.00–12.30 a.m.) the Waagplein is the backdrop for this traditional cheese market. After the old-fashioned way of the hand clap, traders and carriers will weigh the cheeses.
It is one of only four traditional Dutch cheese markets still in existence. It is not actually possible to buy cheese at the market itself, which is really only a demonstration of how this merchants’ market operated in times gone by. However, the demonstration, which takes place in front of the medieval weighing house, is surrounded by many specialized stalls where it is possible to buy all kinds of cheese (and non-cheese) related products. The Waag is also home to the local tourist office and a cheese museum. Alkmaar has 399 registered rijksmonuments, of which most are situated along the city’s old canals.
You can also visit:
Beatles Museum – dedicated to The Beatles, as John Lennon’s first guitar was made in Alkmaar
Holland Cheese Museum – located in the historic weigh house
City Museum Alkmaar – for history of the city