Coordinate: 52° 30′ 45″ N, 5° 2′ 57″ E
Edam-Volendam is a municipality in the northwest Netherlands, in the province of North Holland, consisting of the towns of Edam and Volendam, whose centres lie just 3 km apart.
Edam is known all around the world for its cheese covered with red wax (orange wax for local consumption). The name Edam originates from a dam on the little river E or IJe where the first settlement was located and which was therefore called IJedam. After Edam was granted the right to have weekly markets, commercial cheese markets were established in the town until 1922. The cheese was brought to the market by local farmers on little boats, and when the cheese was lifted out of the boats it was carried to the market by cheese sledges. At the market, the cheese was shown to the merchants. After being tested for their quality, the price was settled by haggling until there was agreement. After that, the cheese was brought to a warehouse where it was kept until the quality was at its best.
Originally, Volendam was the location of the harbor of the nearby Edam, which was situated at the mouth of the IJe bay. In 1357, the inhabitants of Edam dug a shorter canal to the Zuiderzee with its own separate harbor. This removed the need for the original harbor, which was then dammed and used for land reclamation. Farmers and local fishermen settled there, forming the new community of Vollendam.