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City of the cheese heads (Kaeskoppenstad)

Beggars wrapped in rags begging for a ducat, straw on the street, the citizen’s militia who keep an eye on things, and look out for the cheese carriers who, at a trot through the bustling city, take their hand barrows – heavily laden with gleaming cheeses – to the Weighing House.

Anyone who visits Kaeskoppenstad will have plenty to feast their eyes on. The 16th century is brought to life by the numerous performers and the shopkeepers in the Old City itself. Have you ever seen how a wedding was celebrated in bygone times? Did you know that barbers pulled out teeth too? Have you ever seen beer being brewed? These all form part of the varied programme that includes a bustling street scene and specific acts.

Sample traditionally smoked eel from the fish stalls, or take pleasure in the feats of acrobats and the shanty choir. Allow yourself to be amused by an unadulterated witch hunt, a street scene with prostitutes, carts, gooseherds, a funeral procession and old Dutch games.
Thanks to 500 enthusiastic volunteers, the first edition of Kaeskoppenstad, held in 2008, was an unparalleled historic spectacle. The event will take place again in 2010, once again organised by The Levensgenieters (The Hedonists), jointly with Lions Alkmaar Victoria. In June, the ‘Kaeskoppen’ (cheese heads) will seize power. Or as the town crier proclaimed loudly whenever a thief or unfaithful husband was, in those days, put in the pillory: ‘come and take a look!’

Keep an eye on the website www.alcmariafeesten.nl for the up-to-date programme, starting times and how to find your way!