Are the Dutch so tall because they consume so much dairy? Hard to say, but the important thing is that delectable cheese made from the milk of cows and sheep grazing on lush pastures in Holland is sold at shops throughout Amsterdam. Dutchies have been making cheese since 400 AD and the product is as synonymous with Holland as tulips, clogs and windmills. The Netherlands is the world's largest cheese exporter, with a dairy industry that generates around €7 billion annually.
There are touristy cheese markets in Alkmaar, Hoorn and Edam where old weigh houses are the backdrop for traditional cheese trade. For Amsterdam visitors, shops like Henri Willig Cheese & More proffer everything from mild Gouda and mellow Edam to Boerenkaas (literally, farmer cheese), an artisanal raw milk product. The 12-store chain of cheese manufacturer Henri Willig was founded in 1974 and now has six shops in Centrum and six others elsewhere in Holland
Over one million customers visit Henri Willig annually for organic, goat and smoked cheese, as well as Dutch specialties like Frisian clove cheese made with low-fat milk, cumin and cloves, and Leidse cheese, the piquant, cumin-scented variety from Leiden. Henri Willig shops also sell cheese graters, slicers, fondue sets and other accessories, as well as sweets like Dutch drop, chocolate and stroopwafels. An export division ships products to 25 countries. Stop in for a snack, as samples are always set out for hungry customers.