Trade and Industry
Edam, which is widely known for its cheese, has a rich history as a port city and a large number of historic buildings.
Two specific historic buildings are highlighted here: the Stone Trader’s house, with its unique floating cellar and the City Hall with the magnificent room where the Orphans were once based. You will find additional information under the History option on the bar at the top of this page.
A port city
Shipping had always been an important source of income for the inhabitants, but when Edam was granted city rights in 1357, this flourished further. A new harbour was dug to the sea: along Voorhaven and Oorgat enabling more merchant ships to visit the city. In 1544 Charles V decreed that the open channel linking of Edam to the Zuiderzee had to be closed in order to protect the countryside against the tidal flow. The people of Edam were did not agree with the closure and as a protest they attempted to destroy the lock gates. At the end of the 16th century, however, the closure was achieved and the lock marked the end of Edam’s ambitions to once again grow into a major port city. In the museum there are various art and utensils that illustrate the history of Edam as a port city.
The cheese market has significantly defined Edam’s economy since the 16th century. Until 1922, cheese was traded directly farmers and traders. At the centre of this colourful spectacle were the cheese carriers, who transported and supplied the round cheese on wooden “berries” or chassis. The cheese scales (1778) and the cheese warehouses are still witness to this heritage. The cheese markets that take place weekly during the months of July and August keep the memory of this aromatic and colourful heritage alive. You can find more information on the website:
On the first floor of the museum, you will find an exhibition about the Edam cheese.
The fortified city of Edam has a rich history, which is visible in the old streets, the canals and preserved facades, squares and bridges. A walk in the compact centre of Edam takes you along, among other things, the garden rooms (known as ‘tea domes’ bordering the canal along the Schepenmakersdijk [Ship makers’ dike] , the skewed Speeltoren [Carillon] and the Grote Kerk [Great Church].
If you want to know more about Edam or, for an overview of all activities and places of interest in the town and the surrounding area, visit Edam Tourist Office’s website: VVV Edam.