It doesn’t get more Dutch. A collection of well preserved historic windmills and houses located in Zaanse Schans make you go back in time and tell the story of the residential and industrial history of the Netherlands.
It’s on a rainy moment of a day in October we arrive at Zaanse Schans, one of Hollands best known tourist attraction. From the parking area and main entrance, the first thing you’ll notice are the windmills on the dyke. And possibly the rather contrasting background of a normal, modern city.
This is not a coincidence, the windmills and other buildings at Zaanse Schans have moved to this location between 1961 and 1974. Using lowboy trailers the objects from the region Zaanstreek were placed to create this open air museum of Dutch heritage in one spot.
The windmills, objects and even the inhabitants and employees will remind you of the 18th and 19th century. Most of the windmills and other small musea and shops can be visited throughout the day. And with 1.6 million visitors in 2014, it proves to be a popular place.
The most authentic views are made by the windmills placed along the dyke at Zaanse Schans. From different locations you get a view of them which features on the cover of many brochure about Holland. While the Dutch put together this iconic scene to attract tourist, they are real and original windmills from across the ‘Zaanstreek’.
With 3 oil mills, ‘de Os’ (the Ox), ‘de Zoeker’ (the Seeker) and ‘de bonte Hen’ (the spotted Hen) you can get a good view of how oil can be produced using a windmill.
At the 3 saw mills you get to experience how wood can be manufactured into planks. With ‘de gekroonde Poelenburg’ (the crowned Poelenburg), ‘het jonge Schaap’ (the young Sheep) and ‘het Klaverblad’ (the Cloverleaf) there is enough chance to get a look inside and feel the history.
With a dye mill ‘de Kat’ (the Cat) and mustard mill ‘de Huisman’ (the Houseman) you get the idea of all the possibilities. The Dutch ancestors have been able to come up with all kinds of solutions using the wind as energy source. And if you think all this is for show only, you are wrong. Some of these windmills still operate as a business, if not to just have a side income.
In 1998 the Zaans Museum was opened with the goal of preserving and protecting the heritage of the Zaanstreek (Zaan area). The museum features two sub-collections: residential culture and industrial culture. Expect to see regional costumes and Zaan-style painted furniture for example.
‘The Cooperage’, the ‘Jisper house’ and the ‘Weaver’s house’ have recently been added as museum locations with living history at the Zaanse Schans. ‘The Cooperage’ features the craft of coopery, or barrel making. The ‘Jisper house’ tells the story of a fisherman’s wife before the industrial revolution midway trough the 19th century. And the ‘Weaver’s house’ reveals it’s focus in the name, namely the craft of weaving sailcloth in the 19th century.
Plan your visit
If you are planning to visit Zaanse Schans it’s a good idea to quickly check what you would like to see. The different windmills and museums have different opening hours and there are daily demonstrations of professions and folklore to see. For a up-to-date and detailed overview of this you can visit this page.
Zaanse Schans is a stone’s throw from Amsterdam and can be reached by almost any kind of transportation.
If you are visiting from Amsterdam, a fun way to go to Zaanse Schans is by combining it with the NDSM wharf and a visit to the center of Zaandam. You can do this by using busline 391, also named the ‘Industrial Heritage Line’. For more information, have a look at bus391.nl.
If you plan on visiting Zaanse Schans by train you need to go to trainstation ‘Koog-Zaandijk’. From Amsterdam Central station this will take you 17 minutes. Subsequently you walk to the Zaanse Schans in about 15 minutes.
Of course the Zaanse Schans is also accessible by car. You can use the address ‘Schansend 7, Zaandam’ on your GPS device. Parking is 9,- euro for a day.
Depending on your location, going to Zaanse Schans by bike is a true authentic and modern day way of transportation in the Netherlands. Ask a local tourist office for advise as he will have some wonderful cycle routes ready for you.
Heerlijck Slaapn (sleeping lovely) is in the Zaanse Schans! You can’t get closer to history than this. The classically styled rooms are equipped with modern amenities as free wifi and a flat screen TV. You can have breakfast every morning in the breakfast lounge. Other services include bike rental, souvenir shop and watersport facilities.
Inntel Hotels Zaandam
This 4 star hotel is a modern hotel with a unique façade made out of nearly 70 stacked typical houses from the area. Next to the trainstation, you are only 12 minutes away from Amsterdam. It offers free wifi and free access to the wellness with swimming pool and fitness.
B&B Boterton is around the corner of Zaanse Schans and we recommend you to go there by bike. This little bed and breakfast location has 3 rooms and a shared bathroom. There is free wifi and extra’s include a washing machine, bed linen and ironing facilities.
Considering to visit Zaanse Schans?
We at Live & Explore love to help you out creating your custom itinerary. Listing to your wishes and demands we will keep our eyes open and compliment your visit with tips, advises and excursions.
Contact us and let us know your wishes, or leave your details and we will get it touch with you to discuss your itinerary.