Tourists recognise Zaandam for two reasons: its beautiful neighbourhood Zaanse Schans and also for having one of the weirdest and most unusual buildings in the Netherlands.
Other than that, I don’t think there is much to see, and if you are short of time, you can skip it for sure (not the Zaanse Schans part though!).
As we were returning from Zaanse, we’ve stopped there to have a look and also to eat something before we headed to Bruges.
The downtown area is cute, and there you will find several stores, boutiques, restaurants and bars. Since we had little time, we merely strolled down the most famous road, which is the charming Gedempte Gracht.
What to do?
Czaar Peterhuisje or Tsar Peter House: it was built in 1632 and is one of the oldest wooden houses in Holland and where Tsar Peter I lived in 1697.
Opening hours: between April 1st and October 1st, it is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm, and between October 1st and April 1st, it is closed on Mondays. Address: Krimp 23. Click here for more information.
Monet Atelier: Monet painted 24 landscapes and a portrait during the four months that he stayed in Zaandam in 1871. Nowadays in that museum, there are only replicas of these paintings. Address: Westzijde 14g And for more information click here.
Inntel Hotel: this is the building I mentioned earlier. The hotel is one of the strangest buildings in the country. Designed to resemble traditional colourful Zaanse houses stacked on top of each other, creating a visually stunning effect. Address: Provincialeweg 102
Streets of the World Photo Museum Address: for photography lovers, why not visit the exhibition with 195 full-size photographs taken of the streets worldwide and made by the famous Dutch photographer Jeroen Swolfs? Address: Slaghoedje 52. See more information here.
How to get to Zaandam?
The town is about 9 miles (15 kilometres) from Amsterdam and is very easy to reach.
If you’re coming from abroad, you can fly into Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, which is the closest major airport. From there, you can take a train directly to Zaandam, which is just a short ride away.
The Netherlands has an extensive and efficient train network. You can take a train to Zaandam from various cities whiten the country. From the central station in Amsterdam, you take the train towards Den Helder, Uitgeest or Alkmaar and it takes between 10-15 minutes to reach Zaandam.
Public buses also serve Zaandam, connecting it with nearby towns and cities. Check the local public transportation website here for bus routes and schedules. From Amsterdam Central Station take the 391 or 394 bus to the centre of Zaandam. It takes around 30 minutes.
From Amsterdam, it takes 15 minutes and costs more than €30 each way.
If you are driving, you will have to leave your car in some parking lot as there is almost no place to park it for free.
I have here some parking addresses to help you out: Zaans Medisch Centrum – Koningin Julianaplein 56; Q-Park Rozenhof – Zilverpadsteeg, 1506; Hermitage Qpark – Provincialeweg 56, among others. If you are looking to rent a car, you can check the prices and rent it from here.
Once you arrive in the town, you can explore it on foot, rent a bicycle ou use local buses. I hope you enjoy your visiting and be sure to read about the beautiful windmills in Zaanse Schans here.
Have a great day!