Cattle were kept in what is now called The Netherlands, as far back as pre-historic times. Pots have been discovered burried in ancient mounds in Friesland dating from the period 200 B.C. to 900 A.D. These seem to indicate that cheese was made at that time in pots which allowed the whey to drip and the curds to be preserved.

The Netherlands boasts a rich history of dairy production. Much of this can be seen in various museums. In these the empahasis tends to be placed on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the period leading up to the revolution of 1880 when an increasing amount of milk started to find its way to the creamery.

The Dutch Cheese Museum
In April 1982 The Dutch Cheese Museum was opened in the Weigh-House at Alkmaar. The historical section, on the second floor, consists of a collection of old artefacts, including cheese presses, vats and butter churns. Go one floor lower and you are able to see a glimpse of modern Dutch dairy farming and production. Below is a shop containing all sorts of information on cheese and other dairy products, as well as souvenirs, posters and cookery books. Of course you can also buy cheese. Slide presentations are held every day.

A glimpse into the history of cheese production at the Dutch Cheese Museum.

Cheese Exposeum Gouda
In Gouda the historical Weigh-House (1668) has been changed into a "Cheese Exposeum" with digital information (cd-i).
April - October, tuesday - friday, 10 - 17 hrs.
Sunday 12 - 17 hrs.
Tel: +31 18252996

Cheesemuseum Bodegraven
This museum mainly gives a picture of cheese making at the farm in this area, which was done on a large scale; but you can also learn about milking, butter making, the cheese market and cheese trade.

Nederlands Openluchtmuseum
< Dairy factory at the open air museum in Arnhem.

On the 13 th of May 1745, the first stone for a farm-house of the 'cheese-cover' type, where cheese was made, was laid in Zuid-Scharwoude. You can now see this house and its dairy utensils at the open air museum in Arnhem. There is also a Friesian farm-house from Midlum, with a milking cellar, and a churning room for butter making.

The museum's latest addition is the dairy factory Freia, which was in operation between 1879 and 1970 in the Freisian town of Veenwouden. The building was brought over stone by stone, and gives, among other things a picture of cheese and buttermaking in the first industrial phase.