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Beemster Wants You to Go Jump in the River… But It’s for a Good Cause!


On June 21, 2015, Global ALS Day, a thousand swimmers are jumping in the Hudson River from Pier 45 in Greenwich Village and swimming one mile in order to raise money for ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease research. Why are we talking about this? Because the event is sponsored by none other than Dutch cheesemaker extraordinaire, Beemster Cheese. Behold: the New Amsterdam City Swim!

In 2011, a group of 14 Dutch friends decided to swim across the Dardnelles—AKA the Hellespont AKA the narrow dividing strait between Europe and Asia—in honor of their friend, who was diagnosed with the disease. Because it was such a good time, some of the friends had the idea to organize the swim into a formal charity event. The swim was moved to the canals of Amsterdam and, in 2012, then-crown princess and current Dutch Queen Maxima even got in on the action, diving into the decidedly murky (and highly questionable) waters.

Queen Maxima triumphantly waves a photoshopped wedge of Beemster that she totally should have done in real life.

Then-Princess Maxima triumphantly waves a photoshopped wedge of Beemster that she totally should have done in real life.

Since that inaugural swim, the charity has raised more than $6 million. When the Amsterdam City Swim decided to go global and organize an event outside of the Netherlands, New York (formerly New Amsterdam—get it?) was naturally its first choice. The beneficiary of the New Amsterdam Swim Event is Project MinE, which is undertaking important genetic research on the origins of the disease.

Swimmers have until June 15 to register for the event. Registration is $150, and each swimmer must raise $500 in donations. But if swimming and snatching up dollar bills aren’t your forte, have no fear—you don’t have to take the plunge to support this worthy cause. For $75, you can not only help fund important research, you can buy a ticket to cheer on the swimmers and take part in the awards ceremony and post-swim party. You’ll hear performances by QuestLove of The Legendary Roots Crew (certainly Philly’s best, and arguably, the best hip hop group EVER). Dutch saxophonist Candy Dulfer will also keep you grooving with some smooth jazz and funk. Did I mention that there is also gratis (with your donation) Ben & Jerry’s and Heineken beer?

And of course, there will be cheese. Lots of Dutch cheese. Beemster Dutch gouda-style cheeses will be featured in menu items AND a booth will be handing out heavenly samples of fromage. Not to mention, you’ll have the enviable opportunity to take selfies with the 12-foot-tall Beemster cow.

Click here for more deets on the New Amsterdam City Swim.

Feature Photo adapted from New Amsterdam City Swim

Johnisha Levi

Johnisha Levi is a Boston-area pastry cook and one of those very rare (think Pegasus) D.C. natives. If ithere's a documentary on food or true crime, chances are that she's seen it (or it's waiting in her Netflix queue). She's a culinary history nerd who is eager to spend her summer at culture learning more about cheese.