In the past, Alkmaar was an important market place for the surrounding countryside, and most important was the cheese trade. During the summer months there is a cheese market every Friday morning around the Dutch Cheese Museum in the Waag.
There is also a lot of information about cheese making today.
In the tower of the Waag an equestrian game is played, in which a jousting match can be seen. They canter as many laps as the number of hours.
Also worth seeing is the late-Gothic Town Hall with an interior in Renaissance style.
There are a number of historic courtyards in Alkmaar and the Hofje van Splinter (1646), the Hof van Sonoy and the Wildemanshofje (1714) are the most beautiful.
In 1573 Alkmaar was besieged by the Spaniards and a fired cannonball is still visible in a wooden facade.
The most beautiful church is the Sint Laurenskerk, which was built between 1470 and 1516. This late Gothic cruciform basilica also contains two famous organs.
St. John’s Church was founded in the 15th century by Maltese knights.