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IN HOLLAND GIVE YOURSELF A DUTCH TREAT

Alkmaar: Fitted out in their whiter-than-white suits and coloured boaters, they dash about looking for all the world like characters in a Gilbert and Sullivan opera. The scene is theatrical, and well-rehearsed, and the audience is appreciative enough to applaud often. But strictly speaking this is not a show staged for the benefit of tourists. It is the Alkmaar Cheese Market, where members of the Guild of Cheese Carriers are simply doing their Friday morning job, as they have for more than 300 years.