Alkmaar is a city in the province of Noord-Holland in the Netherlands, and the capital of the municipality of Alkmaar. Alkmaar has a historic center with 399 national monuments and 700 municipal monuments. The city is known as "the cheese city". A traditional cheese market is held weekly from the beginning of April to the end of September. A resident of Alkmaar is called a Alkmaarder, but is called a cheese head in the vernacular. The city has two railway stations: Alkmaar station and Alkmaar Noord station.

Alkmaar is located in the Kennemerland cooperation region, and partly in West Friesland. It also works together with surrounding municipalities in the Regional Administrative Force of Alkmaar. The urbanized area around Alkmaar occupies an important place in the region. It has more or less become attached to places such as Heerhugowaard, Noord-Scharwoude, Zuid-Scharwoude, Broek op Langedijk, Sint Pancras, Oudkarspel, Obdam, Hensbroek, Bergen, Heiloo, Limmen, Castricum, Akersloot and Uitgeest. The complete agglomeration, also known as Groot-Alkmaar, extends globally from Uitgeest to the villages Warmenhuizen and Tuitjenhorn in the south of the municipality of Schagen and from Bergen to Obdam and has approximately 305,000 inhabitants.



The name Alkmaar has been used in various forms since the Middle Ages: Allecmere (tenth century), Alcmere (1063), Alcmare (eleventh and twelfth century), or Alkmare (1132). Possibly the last part means but (formerly mere) "lake", "pond" or "swamp", while the first term auk seems to come from the Diet's meaning "swamp" or "temple".



Middle Ages
Alkmaar originated on a beach wall, along which a long country road ran to the south of Holland. It was originally an agricultural settlement, centered around the St. Lawrence Church, founded in the 10th century, in the western part of the later city center. The fields lay on the shoreline. Slightly to the east of this were the lower peat and clay soils of the Mient. The Scheteldoekshaven near Alkmaar offered a possibility for trade via the Laat and the more easterly Voormeer to the Rzeker in the north and the Schermermeer in the south and east. The place was also connected to the Almere (later the Zuiderzee) via the Voormeer. The agricultural buildings are partly reflected in the fact that in this part of the city there are still many low-rise workers' houses of a layer with a roof, such as along the Geest and Doelenstraat.

When Count Dirk VII of Holland was at war in Zeeland, his brother William of Friesland invaded West Friesland in November 1195. Countess Aleid van Kleef then went to war against her brother-in-law and defeated him at Alkmaar. On June 11, 1254, Alkmaar was granted city rights by Willem II of Holland. At that time, the city mainly served as a border fortress and base in the fight against the West Frisians. To this end, the Count of Holland had Torenburg built northwest of the city at the end of Koningsweg.

With the defeat of the West Frisians, the road was opened for the construction of dikes and roads to the north of the city and a quieter period for trade began. In the course of the 13th century, Alkmaar was able to develop into an international trading city because of this and its location near the Voormeer. In the 14th century, various annual fairs took place, which also attracted international merchants. After the great city fire of 1328, the city was further expanded outside the eastern dike by means of construction. Here new buildings arose in the Mient, Luttik Oudorp and Voordam, where the ships moored with their merchandise. Trade then concentrated around the Mient and Fnidsen ("Venice"). The market was also moved from the church to Fnidsen and the quay of Luttik Oudorp. Trade, fishing and shipping shifted the city's economic center of gravity to the east in the 15th century. From the 14th century on, many monasteries were established in the increasingly less attractive and therefore less expensive old western part of the city, the former existence of which can still be found today in names such as Begijnenstraat, Clarissenbuurt, Paternosterstraat and Sint Katherijnenstraat. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the city was further expanded with placements, giving it a somewhat more uniform shape. As a result of the Revolt of the Cheese and Bread People in 1492, the city was forced to temporarily demolish the city gates and the ramparts. Later a new wall was constructed with 12 towers and 4 gates, which can be seen on the map of Jacob van Deventer from around 1560. There were no fortifications on the east side along the Voormeer. In the 16th century, more and more areas around the city were dike and drained. As a result, the city on the one hand lost its connection to the sea and the associated trade. On the other hand, the reclaimed land gave it a much larger hinterland and thus a larger catchment area. By specializing in cheese and beer, the city managed to partly maintain its position as a trading city.

Early modern age
In the summer of 1517, the city and its surroundings suffered from looting by the Arumer Black Hope. During the Eighty Years' War, the Alkmaar Franciscan priests and brothers were arrested in June 1572 by the Calvinist Geuzen under Diederik Sonoy and murdered in Enkhuizen on June 25, 1572 because of their loyalty to the Catholic faith, after horrific torture. The murdered clergy are now known as the martyrs of Alkmaar. In 1573 Alkmaar was besieged by the Spaniards, who had camped in Oudorp. However, the Alkmaarders kept them at bay with boiling tar and burning bundles of branches. This event, which led to the well-known expression Victory begins at Alkmaar, is still celebrated every year on 8 October during Alkmaars Ontzet. In 1876, the Victoria Monument was erected in Victory Park to commemorate this event.


In 1607 the first explanation of the Alkmaarderhout took place. In the early days this consisted mainly of “wooden” rows of trees along a number of avenues. The secularization of the monastic buildings provided many opportunities for the city to create space for the growing trade. In 1583, the Waagplein could be constructed through the demolition of many former Catholic monastery buildings. Other buildings provided space for the millers and for markets such as the Paardenmarkt. At the same time, nuisance-causing and space-demanding businesses were moved outside the city. Due to the growth of the population, the city was again expanded at the end of the 16th century with the new trading district Nieuwstad, for which part of the Voormeer was dammed. The remaining part of the Voormeer was converted into a harbor. A new wall with 9 strongholds and 7 gates was built around the city, designed by Adriaen Anthonisz. With the shift to a city with a more regional function and the growth in land traffic, the city's economic center of gravity shifted towards the west side of the Mient at the end of the 16th century. Many mansions were built in that period along the road from the Lauruskerk to the Mient and around the new Waagplein.

In the French era, Noord-Holland was transformed into the 'Department of Texel', of which Alkmaar became the capital.

The Alkmaarsche Courant was founded in Alkmaar in 1799 by Adrianus Sterck. The newspaper is now part of the Noordhollands Dagblad and also the largest edition of that newspaper.

Modern time
The Noordhollandsch Kanaal, which was opened in 1824, ran right around Alkmaar during construction. Due to the growth of Alkmaar, it now runs right through it. In 1865 and 1867, the infrastructure was further expanded by the opening of the railway lines from Alkmaar to Den Helder and Uitgeest - Haarlem respectively.

In the 20th century new residential areas arose around Alkmaar, and in 1972 Oudorp, Koedijk-Zuid and the section south of the Alkmaar - Heerhugowaard railway line from Sint Pancras-Zuid were added to the territory of Alkmaar. The city also began to play an increasingly important role in accommodating the population surplus in the Randstad and the population looking for a home through the renovation of old city districts, especially Amsterdam. Alkmaar acquired the core growth status and was therefore considered one of the first "overflow cities" at the time. One consequence of this is the development of the Huiswaard district.



Alkmaar has thirteen churches, six of which are Roman Catholic.


Great church or St. Lawrence church
The construction of the Grote or Sint-Laurenskerk on the Koorstraat was started in 1470 and completed in 1520. The church is still the largest medieval church building in Alkmaar's city center. It was probably designed by the architect Antoon I Keldermans. At the end of the Langestraat, near the Sint Laurenskerk, the pavement indicates the highest natural point of the old sand ridge on which the church is built in the shape of a small crescent moon of gray cobblestones.

The tomb of Count Floris V of Holland is located in the Sint-Laurenskerk. It contains only the viscera, which was removed during the embalming process. Floris's body was later reburied in Rijnsburg.

Saint Laurentius Church
The Roman Catholic Saint Lawrence Church was built in the neo-Gothic style in 1859-1861. It is one of the earliest works in North Holland by the famous architect Pierre Cuypers. The Sint-Laurentiuskerk is a church on the ground plan of a Latin cross. Special features include the flying buttresses on the outside of the building and the use of Limburg marl stone, including the richly decorated rose window above the entrance door in the west facade.

The interior has neo-Gothic details, for example in the wooden barrel vault with colorful rosettes and in the marlstone reliefs along the walls. In the transepts are colorful wall paintings depicting the Blood Miracle of Alkmaar from 1429, made by J.A. Kläsener between 1874 and 1880. Earlier he painted the series of Stations of the Cross (1866-1868).

The neo-gothic inventory has been preserved, including the original pews designed by Cuypers, a large triumphal cross at the beginning of the choir, a Sacred Heart statue, a Mary altar (left of the choir) and a Holy Blood altar (right of the choir ). The stained glass windows are also remarkable. The oldest hang in the choir. They were made by Nicolas' studio in Roermond (1862 and 1895), the others were made by the studio of J. Dobbelaere from Bruges (1895-1907).

Don Bosco Church (1961-2007)
Built in 1961 to a design by architect Van Kranendonk, the Don Bosco church was a square-based church building with a surrounding concrete colonnade under a high wooden tent roof. The square plan allowed the main altar to be placed without contact with the walls and to focus entirely on the liturgy, amid the enclosing circles of the pews. The pyramid shape of the slightly cantilevered roof was deliberately derived from the West Frisian farmhouse. Through the opening at the top of the roof, the light fell into the room from above; a clock was also placed in it. The stained glass windows between the pillars of the colonnade were made by Joep Nicolas. The church was demolished by the municipality in August 2007, despite growing resistance from citizens. The possibilities for re-use have not been investigated. Parts of the stained-glass windows have been relocated in the Alkmaar Saint Joseph Church. The organ from 1961, by Jos Vermeulen, has been transferred to the Protestant Minor Church in Roermond.

Baptist Church
The Mennonite Church, built in 1617 on the initiative of predecessor Hans de Ries, is one of the oldest stone Mennonite churches in the Netherlands. It was initially a hidden church.

Like the other hidden churches in Alkmaar, this church also got a wooden barrel vault. In the 19th century, the building and interior of the church were significantly changed. For example, C.W. Porpoise, the later city archivist, in 1854 a new facade in neoclassical style with round arched windows. The forecourt with flowerbed dates from 1856. In 1876 the entire interior was changed according to a design by city architect W.F. du Croix. The benches with their neo-Gothic detailing date from that time.

One of the oldest inventory items is the neoclassical organ front from 1819 by organ builder J.C. Deytenbach. The organ itself is a Flaes organ from 1866.


Evangelical Lutheran Church
The Lutheran church was built in 1690. The simple exterior is a reminder that the Lutheran church started as a hidden church. However, the interior is much richer, as is customary with Lutheran churches. For example, the space is covered by a wooden barrel vault with an elevated midfield. There is also a pulpit with accompanying benches and a richly decorated tour portal from the construction period. Special features include the organ from 1754, with Rococo carvings and on top of the image of a swan, the symbol of Luther and the Lutherans. The organ was probably built by Pieter Müller, son of the well-known organ builder Christian Müller.

Chapel Church
According to some, the Chapel Church dates from around 1325, but more generally it is assumed that construction started around 1520, so immediately after the completion of the Grote Kerk. At the time of the construction of the Chapel Church, the Laat was not yet filled in; that is why the entrance is in the short facade on the Kapelsteeg.

A striking feature of the Chapel Church are the very numerous natural stone bands in the brick walls. In 1707 the church was expanded with a high transept in Dutch classicist style on the north side. A bank block was built here, in which the members of the city council could sit. The sofa block was designed in the modern Louis XIV style. The curling acanthus leaves on the top pieces of the doors are characteristic of this style.

In 1760 the building was struck by a fire, in which the medieval wooden barrel vault was lost. It was replaced by a stucco vault with raised fields, decorated with rococo-style decorations. The wooden pulpit and the organ case with the accompanying wooden frame are also executed in rococo style. Both interior pieces date from 1762. Asmus Frauen from Amsterdam and Willem Straatman from Alkmaar were involved in the manufacture. The organ is from organ builder Christian Müller. Notable interior pieces also include the large copper candle crowns.

Worth seeing are the colorful stained-glass windows, made in the years 1920-1940 by Willem Bogtman from Haarlem.

Remonstrant Church
The Remonstrant Church is a hidden church, located in a courtyard. The building was erected in 1658 on the site of a wooden mill where the faithful used to gather in secret. The monumental entrance between the two bell gable houses dates from 1728. The ornate ironwork above the doors incorporates the letters RK from Remonstrant Church. Inside, the church building, which is covered with a wooden barrel vault, has galleries on three sides that rest on wooden columns. The church interior is very beautiful, with a 17th-century pulpit and around an 18th-century baptismal fence with richly decorated copper baptismal arches. There is a brass lectern on both the pulpit and the baptismal fence. Various beautiful copper crowns, candle arms and sconces (17th and 18th century) serve as lighting. The organ (1792) is by the Amsterdam organ builder Johannes Stephanus Strümphler. The pine floor is still sprinkled with fine sand as before.

Saint Dominic's Church (1863-1985)
The Saint Dominic Church was built in the years 1863-1866 by Pierre Cuypers, who also designed the Rijksmuseum and the station building of Amsterdam Central Station. It was a so-called cross basilica, the most characteristic part of which was the large tower that clearly intended to rival the Grote Kerk. The tower formed a striking part of Alkmaar's silhouette for more than a century. The church was of great art-historical significance as it was one of the few surviving structures from the early period of Cuypers' activity as an architect. Moreover, the interior was also fairly complete. The church board decided in 1972 to close the Saint Dominic Church. The number of churchgoers in the city center decreased. The maintenance of the then two inner-city churches (Sint-Dominicus aan de Laat and Sint-Laurentius aan het Verdronkenoord) became too expensive. The church council opted for the preservation of St. Lawrence, which was in the best architectural condition. Less attention was paid to art historical value. In 1974, Saint Dominic's Church was closed for worship. For years the fate of this church remained uncertain, but in 1985 the church was demolished; only a stair tower was spared.


St. Joseph's Church
The Saint Joseph Church was built entirely in neo-Gothic style. The church was put into use on January 1, 1910. The design is by the church builders and students of P.J.H. Cuypers, Albert Margry, Jos Margry and Josephus Marie Snickers.

The church has stained glass windows. The statue of Christ the King was placed in 1948 to commemorate Alkmaarders who died in the war. Their names are on a plaque on the wall of the church.

On May 10, 1604, the town of Alkmaar was the first city of the Netherlands to allow Jews to settle here. On June 5, 1802, the Jewish congregation bought this building to establish the Synagogue. In 1842 a school was founded in the backyard for religious and civil education. This was given by the rabbi, who lived next to the synagogue at number 13.

Two stones in the façade indicate (in the Hebrew era) the dates on which the building was renovated: in 1826 and 1844. According to the Waterstaat drawing, the renovation in 1844 involved a new façade, a gallery for women and a barrel vault containing the Star of David.

After the war, the badly affected Jewish community of Alkmaar could no longer afford the synagogue and the building fell to the Baptists. They left the building again in 2008. The now growing Jewish community in Alkmaar took the building back into use in mid-2011 after a thorough restoration.

Savior's Church
The Redeemer Church is built in an expressionist style akin to that of the Amsterdam School, and was built in 1933 to a design by B.W. Plooij. The building has a cross-shape as a floor plan, with a so-called ridge turret at the crossing of the roofs. The church closed its doors in 1991, after which the building was converted into an apartment complex.

Lukaskerk (Christian Community)
The church building of the Christian Community is built in an organic style. The church was opened in 1994. Since 2009, the church on the Kanaaldijk also has a name, namely the Lukaskerk.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The meetinghouse of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a church built in a typical American style. The church was opened in 1997.

Windmills are part of the culturally-historically valuable regional development with special significance for the entire region. Especially the robust barbers are almost exclusively found in North Holland above the North Sea Canal. All mills are listed buildings. The emphasis of the protected level of prosperity is on preserving the authentic appearance of the mills and the reference to the history of Alkmaar. Until 2015, the municipality of Alkmaar had 13 mills (including the meadow mill, 14). Two of these are located in Koedijk, six in the village of Oudorp and five in the city of Alkmaar itself. Since 2015, the municipality of Alkmaar also includes the territory of the former municipalities of Schermer and Graft-De Rijp. Since then, the municipality of Alkmaar has a total of 32 different mills (+ the meadow mill = 33).

Craft grinder
The Alkmaar Craft Mill emptied the Raaksmaatsboezem. This type of mill is called a ironing mill because the water is as it were 'road area' due to the slight difference in height. Other names under which the Ambachtsmolen is known are "Achter Oudorp" and "'t Wuiver". The Craft Mill is actually located in the village of Oudorp.

The Eendracht
The polder mill De Eendracht on the Kruseman van Eltenweg is a round stone ground sailor from 1771. This mill used to drain the Eendrachtspolder on the Schermerboezem. As a result of urban expansions, the mill has been built in almost all around. The mill was restored not so long ago. A wooden paddle wheel has been placed; this paddle wheel is characteristic of the mill.

The Geestmolen
The Geestmolen, Hoeverpad 13, is a polder mill, with an oak octagon on a low foot, a ground sailor from 1565. The Geestmolen used to drain the 170 hectare Geestmolenpolder. Because the new residential area De Hoef was built in the early 1960s, the mill no longer has a landscape function. The Geestmolen is of the octagonal inner barrow type. This means that the blades can be placed on the wind inside (the mechanism is entirely in the hood).

The Golden Angel
On Kanaaldijk 235-236, the tower mill has been located since 2009: "De Gouden Engel", built on the initiative of the Johannes Bos Foundation. The flour mill, which works on wind power, can be seen regularly in operation. In addition to the mill, there are also the coal barn from 1891 for the storage of headed cabbage and the old mill from 1866, a servant's house from 1871, now an office, and a newly built mill shed. The top floor of the mill shed has been set up as a museum by the Koedijk Historical Association. De Gouden Engel is located in the village of Koedijk.


The Sluismolen
The polder mill De Sluismolen at Helderseweg 87 from 1575/2002 is a ground sailor with an oak octagon on a low foot. This mill drained the Grote Sluispolder. In 2001 this mill burned down completely, but has now been restored to its original state. The Sluismolen is located in the village of Koedijk, but has an Alkmaar zip code.

The Viaan
The Viaan, located at 18 Havinghastraat, is a polder mill. The De Viaan windmill is an octagonal inner barrow on a low base from 1579. Together with an electric pumping station, it now drains another 464 hectare part of De Bergermeerpolder on the Schermerboezem. The mill has a radius of 24 meters. The mill was originally equipped with a paddle wheel and was iced up in 1876. Next to the mill is the miller's house. Due to urban expansion to the south and east, the low-rise buildings and the roads are very close to the mill.

The four ironing mills in Oudorp
Molenkade 6/9, ironing mills, ground sailers built between 1627 and 1630. A total of six ironing mills have stood along the Molenkade. They are known as "The mills at the six wheels". That name does not refer to the six mills, but to the six large wheels with which the shakes were operated at the time. In 1688 the easternmost was lost in fire and has not been rebuilt. The westernmost one was dismantled to be rebuilt in the Netherlands Open Air Museum in Arnhem. An English bomb put an end to the mill stored there. The ironing mills along the Molenkade are not only important from a cultural-historical point of view, but together they form an accompaniment for the Zeswiel and Hoornseweg. The 'Molen van Piet' and the Viaanse windmill also form structure-determining buildings due to their location (at junctions / entrances).

Molen De Groot / Molen van Piet
Piet's Mill is officially called 'mill De Groot'. The name 'Molen van Piet' is often used because the Piet family has lived and managed the mill for many years. The circular stone tower mill was built in the 18th century and was intended for grinding grain. However, in front of this mill there was a so-called post mill, built in 1605. Piet's Mill is the only mill in the city center that has been preserved. Guided tours are given and there is a souvenir shop.

Munniken-, Raven and Robonsbosmolen
Munnikenboschpolder 5, polder mill, pine octagon on a low foot, ground sailor from 1781/1976. The Robonsbosmolen was a signal mill of the Schermerboezem until 1981. To this end, the windmill hood was permanently fitted with a lamp in its dismantled state (1931-1976). Since 1976 the mill has been completed externally again and it has been set up for permanent residence.

't Roode Hert
At the Frieseweg 102 stands the corn mill (octagonal tower mill) 't Roode Hert from 1748. The current building is the former rice peeler de Witte Klok, which was built in 1925 on the spot where a mill had burned down twice. The White Clock has stood on the south side of the Zaanse Schans in Zaandam since 1748. Grain is still processed into flour, and flour, flour and other organic products are sold (and served). There are plans to move the mill about 300 meters to the Oudorperpolder nature reserve. This is necessary to be assured of windage now that there are plans to build on the nearby former industrial area Overstad with houses and shops. 't Roode Hert is located in the village of Oudorp.

Meadow mill de Koekoek
Meadow mill de Koekoek was built in 1933. The mill was used to drain the southern part of the polder (total of approximately 12 hectares) in the Zuiderkoog and to keep it dry (Houthandel Eecen was in the same polder). The northern part of the polder discharged via a wooden culvert under the Snipsloot into a larger polder called the Noorderkoog. This polder discharged with a large windmill and later with a diesel pumping station on the Schagersloot. There was no real miller, but one person was responsible who worked at Eecen. When the timber trade started to build storage sheds, the Koekoek was moved to a location all the way on the dike on the east side of the polder, but had no function for some time, because the entire polder was drained with its own electric pump. In 1985 the mill was removed from Oudkarspel and placed in the warehouse of Molenmakerij Poland. In 2000 it was placed on the grounds of Golfbaan Sluispolder in Alkmaar-West (about 50 meters from the N9). The mill was shut down around 2011 due to decay. The mill was restored in 2013 and is regularly turned by a permanent miller.