The origin of Edam lies near a dam in the river Ije, also called E: hence the name of Edam. The dam was the location where goods were transshipped and that is why Edam developed into a trade town. Parcticularly the shipbuilding industry, herring fishing industry and cheese making contributed to Edam's growth.
Untll 1922 Edam had a cheese market on which local farmers sold their cheese. The Edam cheese was transported to the market by small boats and on the market the cheese was sold to traders. In 1989 the cheese market was reinstated and during the summer months a tourist cheese market is offered on Wednesdays between 10.30h/10.30 a.m. and 12.30h/ 12.30 p.m..