‘Victory began in Alkmaar’. This saying refers to one of the most famous episodes in the history of Alkmaar: its defeat of the besieging Spaniards in 1573. The legacy of this rich and illustrious past is still in evidence in the cosy city centre. The canals with their characteristic drawbridges, the numerous historic buildings, the peaceful courtyards, the old facades and the narrow shopping streets give the centre of the city its very special atmosphere. It’s no accident that Alkmaar is the second shopping city of the Netherlands!
Over the course of the centuries Alkmaar has developed into an attractive medium-sized city with numerous residential, employment and recreational facilities. Its strengths are the appealing residential locations in neighbourhoods with their own character, and the versatile economic environment with clusters of all types of services. The people of Alkmaar are proud of ‘their’ Canada Square, the sparkling new cultural location where five major cultural institutions present a broad palette of exhibitions, theatre, art, music, books and new media. For tourists, too, Alkmaar is a well-loved destination. There is of course the cheese market, that attracts thousands of people from all over the world, but the beach and Amsterdam with Schiphol Airport are both nearby. Alkmaar: cheese, coast, and culture!
Alkmaar is located in a typical Dutch polder landscape, close to a major nature reserve with dunes, beach, woods and water, water everywhere. Few places in the Netherlands have such a wide variety in terms of natural splendour.
In economic terms, too, Alkmaar is favourably located as an attraction in the region and in the economic heartland of the Netherlands. Alkmaar is the vibrant centre of the area. For example, it houses the largest non-teaching hospital and the only college of higher education in the region.
In addition, Alkmaar is surprisingly close to Amsterdam and Schiphol. So more and more companies are opting for Alkmaar as an attractive location for their activities.
The near future
Under the slogan ‘Alkmaar, a strong city in a large region’, a lot of hard work is going into the maintenance and upgrading of the city’s strengths, and into remedying its weaknesses. The municipal policy is focused on a strong centre, vibrant neighbourhoods and a modern economy. This is the background for scores of projects that will make Alkmaar even more of an attraction in the near future.