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Cheese stall at the Weest market.
Image from Koen Smilde

Amsterdam for cheese lovers

With so much fertile farmland that’s perfect for dairy cows, the Netherlands is a proud cheese producing nation. Be it at breakfast, on sandwiches, cut into cubes and served with mustard, or even deep-fried, the Dutch will find an excuse to eat cheese any time of day, making Amsterdam a haven for cheese enthusiasts. Here’s our round-up of specialist shops, restaurants, and tasting rooms for cheese lovers to immerse themselves in the world of kaas.

Stacked to the rafters

De Kaaskamer traditional shop interior
Image from De Kaaskamer

In the Negen Straatjes (9 Streets) shopping district, Kaaskamer’s shelves are stacked high with famous cheeses from the Netherlands and abroad. If you can't commit to a big block, order a baguette with the cheese of your choice. The staff will be happy to advise you on what to go for or help you put together a cheese board paired with wines, beers, homemade tapenades and pestos.

Revolving conveyor belt

Cheese restaurant
Image from Jamie Snoeck

The tasting experience that just keeps on revolving, Kaasbar is an absolute paradise for fans of fromage. Prop up at the bar with a glass of wine and marvel as carefully selected artisanal cheeses trundle past you enticingly on the sushi-style conveyor belt. When you see something you like, grab it! Enjoy everything from golden wheels of Gouda and Edam to white, blue, hard cheeses and creamy organic sheep’s milk varieties.

Sit-down tastings

Proeflokaal Kef Terrace van der pekstraat
Image from Koen Smilde

With three locations across the city, Fromagerie Abraham Kef offers a selection of raw-milk Dutch cheeses. Still, it is best known for its expertise in French cheeses crafted by small producers. We recommend heading to the Kef tasting room in Noord, where you can sip delicious wines with a stunning cheese platter.

Surrounded by goats

A group of women doing goat yoga at Ridammerhoeve geitenboerderij goat farm - Amstelveen
Image from Chimedia

Beyond the broad spectrum of hard cheeses like Gouda, the Netherlands is also famous for geitenkaas (goat cheese) - a bright white semi-hard cheese made for grating, slicing and sandwiches. The best place to try it is at Ridammerhoeve, an organic goat farm in the heart of the Amsterdamse Bos. It doesn’t get much fresher than tucking into a delicious goat's milk hot chocolate or a goat's cheese sandwich from the café terrace with a view of the animals. Keep an eye on the agenda for goat yoga, cheese-making workshops and demonstrations.

Melted cheese

Smelt cheese fondue restaurant
Image from Ingrid Hofstra

While not typically Dutch, fondue is a quintessential comfort food which pops up on menus all over town in autumn and winter. Café Bern on the Nieuwmarkt has been in operation for decades, serving delicious gooey fondue pots with bread, potatoes and meats for dipping. Conveniently located across the road from the cherished cheesemonger, De Kaaskamer, SMELT is a fondue pop-up at the historic Café Doffer, where a rustic hideaway’s been created in a cosy candlelit side room. Choose between a French, Swiss or Dutch cheese fondue served with tender-crisp vegetables and artisanal bread. Smelt also has a second location in Westerpark, which is well worth checking out. 

Tip: Also check out Het Karbeel and Fondue & Fondue - two more highly rated hotspots.

Meet the farmers

People shopping at the Haarlemmerplein Boerenmarket farmer's market cheese stall
Image from Koen Smilde

Many of the city’s open-air markets like the Dappermarkt and Albert Cuyp will have at least one stall selling cheeses. Noordermarkt (Saturdays) and the Haarlemmerplein Farmer’s Market (Wednesdays) are great spots to purchase local organic produce as you chat directly with the cheese-makers and artisans. Or, if you’re looking for cheese-related adventures outside Amsterdam, the Netherlands still has five traditional cheese markets in Alkmaar, Edam, Hoorn, Gouda and Woerden. Whilst the markets in Gouda and Woerden are still functioning trading centres for local cheesemakers, the others put on impressive demonstrations while decked out in old-fashioned garb, surrounded by stalls selling cheese and souvenirs.

Beer and cheese

People sitting on the terrace of Gollem Aan Het Water at Entrepotdok
Image from Koen Smilde

Making beer and cheese are two things the Dutch excel at, and fortunately both pair particularly well together. Cheese-lovers will feel right at home in many of the city’s speciality beer bars or tasting rooms, where kaasblokjes – bite-sized cubes of cheese served with mustard for dipping - are frequently served to accompany the drinks. Gollem aan het Water, Brouwerij ‘t IJ or In de Wildeman are the perfect place to get acquainted with the local brewing scene as you chomp down on snack platters loaded up with pickles and cheeses.

Fried cheese on every corner

People enjoying drinks and bitterballen at Theehuis Cruquius.
Image from Creative bros

To truly understand Dutch food culture, you’ll need to head to one of the city’s historic drinking holes and order some fried goodies. Nearly every brown bar in the city will have at least one cheese-based snack on its menu. Kaassoufflés and kaasstengels are two types of deep-fried snacks which feature melted cheese surrounded by a crispy coating. For a (slightly) fancier fried treat, look out for a geitenkaaskroketten (a croquette filled with goat cheese). And don't forget this is Amsterdam, so you can pick up fried cheesey snacks from a vending machine at all hours of the day. 

Dining out

Lars restaurant cheese
Image from JD Photography

If you’d rather enjoy cheese with your dinner, consider ordering a kaasplank (cheese board) at one of the city’s fine dining restaurants, such as Michelin-starred RIJKS. Bar Bistro Le Garage, Gertrude, Lars, and Wilde Zwijnen are also well worth checking out for their cheese selections. Be sure to look under the dessert menu, as the cheese course is generally served after the main meal. For more inspiration, you can also check out this rundown of shared dining restaurants and tapas bars where cheese is an essential meal component.

Everything you need to know

Image from Thom Quine

Learn more about the history of Dutch cheese making, see the most expensive cheese slicer in the world and dress up like a traditional farmer at the Amsterdam Cheese Museum. Not only will the guides answer all of your burning questions but there are tasting opportunities aplenty. Exit through the gift shop and load your shopping cart with all manner of vacuum-packed goodies to take home with you.

Every flavour you can imagine

Image from C.K. Koay

It's always exciting to visit Henri Willig’s cheese farms in Katwoude, Volendam and the Zaanse Schans, but you can also check out their organic cheeses at one of their Cheese & More stores in Amsterdam. Cheese lovers can admire the beautiful selection of cow, sheep and goat milk varieties and sample a myriad of flavours.

Plant-based cheese

Image from Willicroft

Vegans, cheese lovers, and anyone curious about plant-based dining will be astounded by the range of dairy-free options on offer in Amsterdam. Willicroft is the first plant-based cheese store in the Netherlands, jammed packed with cheeses and vegan wines. Keep an eye on their social media for events and tastings.

Make a platter at home

Founded in 1989, L’Amuse stocks more than 400 types of cheeses. The owners specialise in finding the ultimate combinations between cheese, wine, beer, whiskey, tea and sake. Their shop in Amsterdam-Zuid is the perfect place to pick up ingredients to make the most luxurious cheese platters kitted out with fine charcuterie, olives and crackers. Whilst their cheese bar in IJmuiden organises regular tasting sessions.

Typically Dutch varieties

With four branches in Amsterdam and several more in the Noord-Holland region, Tromp (website in Dutch) is an excellent cheese shop with knowledgeable staff ready to answer questions or offer a taste before you buy. The selection includes various European cheeses and local specialities like Gouda, Maasdammer, Emmentaler, Delft Blauw and others that can only be found in the Netherlands.