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Edam cheese over the centuries

In the 17th century Edam was the most important cheese market in the Netherlands. The market place was surrounded by a number of warehouses where cheese from many small farms was collected and sold.

In 1916, cheese traders Schardam and Groot established their export company Gestam at the Voorhaven in Edam. Twenty-seven small cheese factories supplied them with cheese, which Gestam then exported to a large number of countries. An independent committee of inspectors kept an eye on the quality of the factories’ products.

Expansion and modernisation

From the beginning Gestam’s strength was that it could offer not just one type of cheese, but a whole range of cheeses. Although over the years the number of cheese factories and -traders in the area decreased dramatically, Gestam survived and steadily continued to expand.

For many decades transport went by ship: hence the choice of warehouses next to the water. Owing to new packing and refrigeration-methods export took a great flight. Nowadays Gestam exports to 20 countries.