Kaeskoppenstad – 16th Century Alkmaar

We’ve been to Alkmaar! It was a wonderful opportunity last weekend to go and see what it was like to live in Alkmaar in the 16th Century.

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The old centre of town was blocked off to traffic and the roads closed with locals dressed up in period costumes.

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I had been lucky enough to have a friend tell me that it was on. She wasn’t in town to partake in the festivities, but had I hunch that I would be enticed by them!

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There were demonstrations of all kinds to bee seen everywhere you looked. Demonstrations of how things, were made, and how people lived their lives.

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Some of these things were a real slap in the face that reminded people like me (who love a clean hot shower) about how much we take for granted.

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How clean do you think these sheets really were when they’re washed in the canals with all the duck poo? (And everything else that’s in the canals.)

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There was so much effort and time put into this wonderful event. The make up efforts alone would have taken hours to apply! Everywhere you looked there were lepers and plague victims.

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There were also lots of fun things like the blacksmith who would let you hammer some hot metal …

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… and this dashing fellow who was obviously a cut above the street scum, and informed me that I needed to take a dignified photo of him! Not just a surreptitious one!

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It was an amazing day, and really was like stepping into some of my favourite paintings in the Rijksmuseum.

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For those that don’t get the humour in this picture, the larger boat is named after our King, and the little one is named after our Queen!

We concluded our little jaunt back in time by returning to modern day Alkmaar and indulging in some Spanish tapas and Mexican beer, while watching a plague boat carry away a dead body and grieving widow. Not something I do every day …

2 thoughts on “Kaeskoppenstad – 16th Century Alkmaar

  1. Are those wheels of cheese on the ground in the first picture? 🙂

    Very cool that the festivities included so many aspects of every day life, not just the parts that tend to get glamourized or idolized (props to the lepers and plague victims and the lady cleaning her linen in the canal…). Those aspects are so often overlooked.

    Sounds like another wonderful adventure! 🙂

    1. They are cheese! Isn’t it awesome! I was just a mini cheese market that weekend, so they could make room for the festival 🙂

      There were also insane people, and police and army everywhere, and the streets were filled with people undergoing punishment, and torture… There was also an art school, and I loved the science exhibition outside the church, and the “casino corner” where himself and I kind of played pinball! It was a LOT of fun! It really was amazingly well done!

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