West Ham fans’ tour guide to AZ Alkmaar for Conference League semi-final

West Ham head to AZ Alkmaar in the Conference League
West Ham head to AZ Alkmaar in the Conference League /

West Ham United fans will head to AZ Alkmaar for the huge Conference League semi-final second leg.

After three journeys to Belgium, the Hammers’ next trip abroad will be to their neighbouring country, the Netherlands.

Most Brits fly to the Netherlands to visit Amsterdam because of its party culture and stag dos. Alkmaar is a 30-minute drive north of the Dutch capital and may be relatively unheard of, but it could prove to be a hidden gem if you explore it enough. This guide will show you what you can do in this small yet quaint city.

West Ham fans are heading out to Holland for the Conference League last four fixture vs AZ Alkmaar.

West Ham face AZ Alkmaar in the Conference League
West Ham will be hoping to reach the final in Prague /


Population 17,860,000

Language Dutch

Name in Official Language Nederland

Dialling Code +31

Currency Euro/€


Alkmaar is in the province of North Holland. It is connected to Amsterdam via the A9 highway, as well as direct train routes. This makes it very accessible for commuters and day visitors.

Like many cities in the Netherlands, Alkmaar is known for its weekly cheese market. The market is held every Friday morning, and there is even a local museum dedicated to Dutch cheese. It is a lesser-known fact that John Lennon’s first guitar was made in Alkmaar, and this is why there is a Beatles museum in the city.


Molen van Piet

Is a privately-owned windmill. It is a great place for photo opportunities and a short walk away from Alkmaar’s city centre.

De Accijnstoren (Tax Tower)

Was built in 1622. The tower contains a bell and older bricks to show the old structure of the building. It was initially built as a tax office in the 17th century, a place where goods had to be declared. It is now a historical landmark.

De Waag (Weighing House)

Was once the city’s weighing house for trading. It is now the location of Alkmaar’s tourism office.


AFAS Stadion/AZ Stadion

AFAS Stadion (known as AZ Stadion during games in European competitions) was built in 2006 and has a capacity of 19,000. As Alkmaar’s success on the field began to grow, the club planned to increase the capacity to 30,000. However, these plans were abandoned after the main financial contributor went bankrupt in 2010.

Part of the roof collapsed in August 2019, forcing AZ to play its home games in The Hague. The stadium’s roof has since been fully repaired and partly replaced.

How To Get There

Your best bet is to get the train from Amsterdam Centraal to Alkmaar’s train station, located on Stationweg. From here, you can ride six minutes in a taxi or take the number 2 bus to Overdie Koelmalaan.


Be Responsible For Your Actions

Dutch police have recently created a “Stay Away” campaign to discourage British tourists from visiting Amsterdam for partying or drugs. Local authorities generally show a strong disdain towards foreign visitors being disorderly. The penalty for showing antisocial or intoxicated behaviour can be a fine and a night in a police cell.

Do Not Attempt To Buy Drugs

It is commonly misconstrued that the Netherlands has a very relaxed attitude towards soft drugs (i.e. cannabis). Most cafes sell cannabis products, but they are considered controlled substances under Dutch law. Only Dutch nationals can buy the drug and must show identification. Citizens of other countries will be refused service and could face criminal charges.

Psilocybin – commonly known as “magic mushrooms” – are illegal, despite what many tourists think. Mixing cannabis, alcohol and mushrooms can result in death.

Carry Cash On You

Credit cards are not widely accepted in the Netherlands. Bring cash on you and use this as payment if need be.

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