Guild of Cheese Carriers

Within the guild of cheese carriers, there are several roles, from Tasman to Cheese Father...

Diverse Roles within the Guild

In addition to the various nicknames of the cheese carriers, there are also many different roles within the guild. Each role contributes to the smooth operation of the cheese market.

  • Placers: They place the cheeses from the truck onto the market early in the morning. They also load the barrows. They wear black pants and a blue shirt.

  • Loaders: After the cheeses are weighed, the loaders load the cheeses from the barrows into wooden hand barrows and transport them to the truck. They are recognizable by their black pants and ecru-colored shirt.

  • Emergency Helpers: Before becoming a cheese carrier, one serves as an emergency helper for two years, after which they can join the guild. The cheese father and the overseer make the decision about this. The cheese carrier then also receives their nickname.

  • Permanent Member: An experienced cheese carrier working in one of the groups.

  • Tasman: Identifiable by a black leather bag around their waist. They are stationed at the scales. In the past, payments were made with them. After weighing, they mark the cheeses. Tasman is the one who has been in service the longest.

  • Foreman: At the head of each group is a 'foreman,' the oldest man in the group. They are also referred to as an 'overseer.' Every two years, a foreman is chosen within the group. They wear a silver shield with a ribbon in the color of their group.

  • Cheese Father: The 'cheese father' is at the head of the four groups. They are recognizable by their orange hat, black walking stick with silver adornments, and the coat of arms of Alkmaar on their chest.

  • Assistant: The helper of the cheese father. They must keep the toilets and the stoop in front of the weigh house clean. They are also responsible for hanging the bell and must polish the copper twice a year. They wear a separate shield, a berrie with a small silver bow above it. Each season, a different cheese carrier fulfills this role, supervisors excluded.

  • Steward: They take care of the interior and are responsible for the beverages.

  • Provost: They are responsible for collecting the fines that cheese carriers must pay if they arrive late. They also note them on the board of shame. They also wear a separate shield with a berrie and a narrow silver bow above it. Their nickname is 'the executioner'.

The course of a cheese market
The course of a cheese market
Every year, you can witness the cheese market from the last Friday in March to the last Friday in September, every Friday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on the Waagplein.
First Cheese Market
First Cheese Market
The cheesemarket Alkmaar will take place from the last Friday of March until the last Friday in september, every friday from 10 am untill 13.00 pm.
Tuesday evening cheese markets
Tuesday evening cheese markets
The Tuesday evening cheese market takes place from 7pm to 9pm during the months of July and August.