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Europe is one of the five inhabited traditional continents of the Earth. Physically and geologically, Europe is the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, west of Asia. Europe is bounded to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the west by the Atlantic Ocean, to the south by the Mediterranean Sea, and to the southeast by the waterways adjoining the Mediterranean to and including the Black Sea and the Caucasus Mountains. Europe is the world's second-smallest continent in terms of area and third-largest continent after Asia and Africa in population.
Alkmaar is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands, in the province of Noord Holland. Besides the city of Alkmaar, the municipality also comprises the villages of Koedijk and Oudorp, these once separate villages are now all linked together by the suburban sprawl of buildings that arose between the late 1970s and early 1990s. During this time, the population of Alkmaar almost doubled.
The earliest mention of the name Alkmaar is in a 10th century document. As the village grew into a town, it was granted city rights in 1254. The oldest part of Alkmaar lies on an ancient sand bank that afforded some protection from the sea during medieval times. Even so, it is only a couple of metres above the surrounding region, which consists of some of the oldest polders in existence.
Alkmaar's cheese market is one of the country's most popular tourist attractions. The cheese market traditionally takes place every Friday morning between April and October. It is one of only four traditional Dutch cheese markets still in existence. The traditional fare of this cheese market is those cheeses made in the local area, as opposed to the well-known brands of Dutch cheeses, i.e. Edam cheese and Gouda cheese.
The weighing house is home to the local tourist office and a cheese museum. Alkmaar also has a beer museum and a museum dedicated to The Beatles. A red light district is situated at the Achterdam. A village in the Commewijne district of Surinam is also called Alkmaar.

Alkmaar is home to the professional football team AZ. In 2006, the club moved to a new 17,000 capacity stadium, the DSB Stadion. The city also has a velodrome where the Dutch national track cycling championships are held every year. As it is often regarded as among the most beautiful parts of Europe one of the most visited places amongst the most die-hard travelers the world over.

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