Visnews cameras filmed members of the centuries-old Alkmaar Cheese-Carriers' Gold this morning, 8th April, when they marked the end of winter (and, accidentally, the beginning of the tourist season) by going into action in summer uniform for the first time in 1960.
Three comprehensive shots of the ancient Seigh House.
Two shots of men unloading cheeses from producers' vehicles.
Children looking at cheeses.
Loading cheeses on to a carrying-cradle.
Comprehensive view of the busy cheese market.
Several shots of porters trotting with carrying-cradles loaded.
Cheese being weighed (2 shots).
Cheese being removed from scales (2 shots).
Cheeses being loaded on handcart for delivery to buyer.
Three shots of tourists photographing and filming.
Another shot of cheeses being loaded for removal after weighing.
Two more shots of visitors filming and photographing.
Cheeses being taken away.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Visnews cameras filmed members of the centuries-old Alkmaar Cheese-Carriers' Gold this morning, 8th April, when they marked the end of winter (and, accidentally, the beginning of the tourist season) by going into action in summer uniform for the first time in 1960.
The market-place at Alkmaar (which was recognised as a city in 1254) received its consignments of Edam cheeses, either football shaped or round, flat and large, very early in the morning: big heaps of factory-made cheese, smaller heaps of farmhouse products. Purchasers scooped out samples to taste, small and rub between their fingers. Then bargains were made "on handelap".
The turn of the cheese carriers came next. Wearing traditional white shirts and trousers and straw hats lacquered either bright red, blue, green or yellow to denote the sections of the child to which they belong, they loaded the cheeses into wooden "carrying-cradles" or "barriers": sometimes so many as 80 of the football shaped cheeses with a total weight of about 160 kilogrammes (say, 340 lb.) into each carrying-cradle. They then carried the cheeses, using a peculiar form of quick, swinging trot, into the Weigh House, a beautiful 14th century building which was once a church. After the cheeses had been carefully weighed, while the Guild's tallymen kept count, the carriers delivered them to the purchasers - while tourists busily photographed or filmed the proceedings.
(The Guild's members are appointed by the Alkmaar City Council: they include a "Father", 28 permanent carriers and a few casual assistants. The Guild selects a "Provost", often called the "executioner", who maintains discipline amongst the members and posts the names of any late for duty on a "Shase Board".)