Alkmaar

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Coordinates: 52°37′55″N 4°45′04″E / 52.632°N 4.751°E / 52.632; 4.751

Alkmaar About this sound pronunciation is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands, in the province of Noord Holland. Alkmaar is well-known for its traditional cheese market. For tourists, it is a popular cultural destination.

Contents

History

The earliest mention of the name Alkmaar is in a 10th-century document. As the village grew into a town, it was granted city rights in 1254. The oldest part of Alkmaar lies on an ancient sand bank that afforded some protection from the sea during medieval times. Even so, it is only a couple of metres above the surrounding region, which consists of some of the oldest polders in existence.

In 1573 the city successfully withstood a siege by Spanish forces under the leadership of Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba. It was a turning point in the Eighty Years War and gave rise to the expression Bij Alkmaar begint de victorie ("Victory begins at Alkmaar"). The event is still celebrated every year in Alkmaar on October 8, the day the siege ended.

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