Alkmaar

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Alkmaar
Municipality
Accijnstoren in Alkmaar
Accijnstoren in Alkmaar
Flag of Alkmaar
Flag
Coat of arms of Alkmaar
Coat of arms
Highlighted position of Alkmaar in a municipal map of North Holland
Location in North Holland
Coordinates: 52°38′N 4°45′E / 52.633°N 4.750°E / 52.633; 4.750Coordinates: 52°38′N 4°45′E / 52.633°N 4.750°E / 52.633; 4.750
Country Netherlands
Province North Holland
Government[1]
 • Body Municipal council
 • Mayor Piet Bruinooge (CDA)
Area[2]
 • Total 31.20 km2 (12.05 sq mi)
 • Land 29.26 km2 (11.30 sq mi)
 • Water 1.94 km2 (0.75 sq mi)
Elevation[3] 1 m (3 ft)
Population (May 2014)[4]
 • Total 95,076
 • Density 3,249/km2 (8,410/sq mi)
Demonym Alkmaarder
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postcode 1800–1831
Area code 072
Website www.alkmaar.nl

Alkmaar [ˈɑɫ(ə)k.maːr] ( ) is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands, in the province of Noord Holland. Alkmaar is well known for its traditional cheese market. For tourists, it is a popular cultural destination.

History[edit]

The earliest mention of the name Alkmaar is in a 10th-century document. As the village grew into a town, it was granted city rights in 1254. The oldest part of Alkmaar lies on an ancient sand bank that afforded some protection from the sea during medieval times. Even so, it is only a couple of metres above the surrounding region, which consists of some of the oldest polders in existence.

Battle of Alkmaar 1573.

In 1573 the city successfully withstood a siege by Spanish forces under the leadership of Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba. It was a turning point in the Eighty Years War and gave rise to the expression Bij Alkmaar begint de victorie ("Victory begins at Alkmaar"). The event is still celebrated every year in Alkmaar on October 8, the day the siege ended.

In 1799, during the French revolutionary wars, an Anglo-Russian expeditionary force captured the city but was ultimately defeated in the Battle of Castricum. The French victory was commemorated on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris as Alkmaer.

The North Holland Canal, opened in 1824, was dug through Alkmaar. In 1865 and 1867 the railways between Alkmaar and Den Helder and between Alkmaar and Haarlem were built respectively.

In the second half of the 20th century, Alkmaar expanded quickly with development of new neighbourhoods. On October 1, 1972, the town of Oudorp and the southern portions of Koedijk and Sint Pancras were added to the municipality of Alkmaar.[5]

Population centres[edit]

Canal and bridge

The municipality of Alkmaar consists of the following cities, towns, villages and/or districts: Alkmaar, Koedijk (partly), Overdie, Oudorp and Omval.

These once separate villages are now all linked together by the suburban sprawl of buildings that arose between the late 1970s and early 1990s. During this time, the population of Alkmaar almost doubled.

Local government[edit]

The municipal council of Alkmaar consists of 37 seats, which are divided as follows:

Canal

Transport[edit]

The A9 motorway runs from Amsterdam to Alkmaar, then continues on to Den Helder as the N9.

There are direct trains to Den Helder, Hoorn, Zaandam, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Ede, Arnhem, Nijmegen, 's-Hertogenbosch, Eindhoven, Maastricht, Heerlen, Haarlem, Leiden and The Hague. For exact details see Alkmaar railway station.

Alkmaar has two railway stations:

The waterway Noordhollandsch Kanaal, which opened in 1824, runs through Alkmaar.

Main sights[edit]

Cheese market

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. The traditional fare of this cheese market is those cheeses made in the local area, as opposed to the well-known brands of Dutch cheeses, i.e. Edam cheese and Gouda cheese. 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.[6]

Alkmaar has two large theatres and a big cinema (which was originally two cinemas). A red light district is situated at the Achterdam, and Alkmaar has a nightlife scene as well which takes place in the pubs in front of the cheesemarket.

Museums[edit]

Sports[edit]

Alkmaar is home to the professional football team AZ (Alkmaar Zaanstreek). In 2006, the club moved to a new 17,000 capacity stadium, the DSB Stadion, now named the AFAS Stadion. In 2008–2009, AZ won the Eredivisie, the Dutch football league. It was the second league title for the club after the Eredivisie in 1980/81 with only one league defeat.

The city also has a velodrome where the Dutch national track cycling championships are held every year.

Notable residents[edit]

Weighing house
Topographic map of Alkmaar, March 2014

Twin towns—sister cities[edit]

Alkmaar is twinned with:

References[edit]

  1. ^ "College van burgemeester en wethouders" [Board of mayor and aldermen] (in Dutch). Gemeente Alkmaar. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "Kerncijfers wijken en buurten" [Key figures for neighbourhoods]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "Postcodetool for 1815AG". Actueel Hoogtebestand Nederland (in Dutch). Het Waterschapshuis. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "Bevolkingsontwikkeling; regio per maand" [Population growth; regions per month]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 26 June 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  5. ^ Ad van der Meer and Onno Boonstra, Repertorium van Nederlandse gemeenten, KNAW, 2006.
  6. ^ nl:Lijst van rijksmonumenten in Alkmaar
  7. ^ "Städtepartnerschaften und Internationales". Büro für Städtepartnerschaften und internationale Beziehungen (in German). Retrieved 2013-07-26. 
  8. ^ "Bath's Twinning Associations". The Mayor of Bath. Retrieved 2013-07-15. 
  9. ^ "Town Twinning". Bath and North East Somerset Council. Archived from the original on 27 October 2007. Retrieved 12 December 2007. 

External links[edit]