If you are in Amsterdam and would like to go for a day trip, Zaanse Schans area is a great option.
Zaanse Schans is a small neighbourhood located in the town of Zaandam in the north of the Netherlands and is well known for its collection of historic windmills, well-kept wooden houses, barns and workshops.
Despite being a residential area, the part where the mills are located it is practically an open-air museum.
This outdoor museum recreates a Dutch village with wooden houses and windmills dating back to 17th and 18th centuries.
You might even feel like you entered another era if it weren’t for the number of tourists around you.
Among the 6 windmills located on the Zaan River, some have been turned into shops, and others have decks that can be climbed to see the city from above.
When I went with my cousins, we spent about 2 hours walking around and then we went to the centre of Zaandam. But I think a maximum of 3 hours is enough.
What to see in Zaanse Schans?
Zaans Museum: has a diverse collection of paintings, costumes, furniture and multimedia exhibitions telling about the region’s people and industry
The museum also houses the Verkade Pavilion, which is a history of the chocolate and biscuit maker of the same name. Admission: adults €15, children 4-17 years €10. More info here.
Jisper House: part of the Zaans Museum and a fisherman’s house in the smallest village in the Zaan region, the village of Jisp, dating from 1850. You can try on a traditional local costume.
Weaver’s House: is also part of the Zaans Museum collection. Here you will learn about traditional Dutch crafts made from sailboat fabric and windmill fabric.
Kooijman Wooden Shoe Workshop: here you will find clog-making demonstrations and a clog museum.
Albert Heijn Museum: it is a reconstruction of the first Albert Heijn store by Oostzaan, which dates back to the end of the 19th century. Currently, Albert Heijn is the largest and most famous Dutch supermarket chain. Admission is free and it is closed between October and March.
The Cooperage Museum: there you will be introduced to the craft of making barrels.
Zaan Time Museum: shows the history of Dutch clocks with a collection of clocks that ring together every hour. A standard entry is €10.
Bakery Museum: is where you can try Duivekater, a famous Zaanse sweet bread. Free entrance.
Honig Breethuis: also part of the Zaans Museum collection. It is a house where visitors can experience how a family of traders lived in the region in 1830. It is located on the other side of the river, at Lagedijk 80. It is closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
How to get there?
Leaving Amsterdam Central Station, the train takes around 17 minutes, and you need to get off at Zaandijk – Zaanse Schans station. Then you will have to walk for about 15 minutes.
Bus 391 leaves Amsterdam Central Station on platform L every 15 minutes and takes around 40 minutes. It costs €11.50. For more information: www.bus391.nl.
The Rnet 817 bus runs between July and August and runs from Zaanse Schans to Volendam / Edam. It costs €20. For more information: https://oldhollandtour.com.
Are you driving? Use the following address on your GPS: Schansend 7, Zaandam. Parking costs € 10 and buses pay €22.
Zaanferry runs from Amsterdam CS to Zaanse Schans, costs €15 and runs from Thursday to Sunday. The duration of the trip is about 2 hours. More information on ferry times and current fares on the website: https://www.zaanferry.com/en/
Being in Holland, for a full Dutch experience, cycling is the option to be considered. It seems that there is a bike path that runs along part of the region. For safety, cycling between houses is not allowed, but you can leave your bicycle in the parking lot.
The “park” itself opens at 8:30, but each museum and house has a different timetable and opens between 9 and 11 am.
I hope you enjoy this very picturesque and beautiful place.
Have a lovely day everyone!