Marvel the quaint beauty of Zaanse Schans where iconic windmills set as a reminder of 17th century Holland during the Dutch Golden Age. Witness the durability of the centuries-old mills as the wind moves its colorful sails in motion. Relish the picturesque scenery of authentic Dutch houses dotted along the Zaan River. These timbered-houses with varied gable designs are painted in warm colors and white-trimmed along its edges. This creates the unique atmosphere of a traditional Dutch village. Yet, these typical Dutch structures are not solely for aesthetic purposes. Peek inside the workshops to learn about the country’s long-lived crafts and enjoy the demonstrations. A visit to Zaanse Schans is not only a lovely delight to the eye but also a perfect place to be to have a glimpse of the country’s history and traditions.
Where is Zaanse Schans?
Zaanse Schans is situated roughly 20km Northwest of Amsterdam, Netherlands. It is adjacent to the Dutch town of Zaandijk, a part of Zaanstad municipality in the province of North Holland. This small village is just close to Amsterdam which is readily accessible by car or public transport.
How to get there?
Zaanse Schans is easily reachable from Amsterdam.
By car: From Amsterdam, it would take about 25 minutes to reach the famous attraction. Parking lots are available for a fee near the Zaanse schans museum.
GPS Coordinates: degree of latitude 52.472694 and degree of longitude 4.821917
By train: Board the train from Amsterdam Central Station (direction towards Uitgeest) and alight at the fourth stop at Koog-Zaandijk which will take around 18 minutes. From here, follow the signboards and start walking for around 1.4 kilometers and you will reach Zaanse schans. You know you are pretty near once you cross the folding bridge and see the windmills waving at you.
By bus: Take the Connexxion bus 391 from Amsterdam Central Station that runs daily every 15 minutes. The bus ride would take approximately 40 minutes. After 21 stops, the bus will drop you right in front of Zaanse schans.
By tour operator: Several tourist operators in Amsterdam organize day trips to Zaanse schans by coach where some combine it with other attractions nearby. Though it is a bit pricey compared to taking the public transport, you will benefit perhaps from the convenience and the professional guide.
Why Visit Zaanse Schans?
The unique charm of Zaanse schans explains why this tiny Dutch village is a favorite of many tourists. Here, visitors could get a taste of Holland’s countryside where authentic Dutch houses are perfectly preserved and historic windmills are still actively working. This popular attraction is definitely satisfying to the eye where the structures that makes up the village complements the green surroundings, the colorful gardens, and the river that flows next to it. A visit to this place will infuse the visitors with information about Holland’s industrial past as well as immerse to the country’s culture. Visitors could also get the chance to get inside workshops to watch how the country’s very own handicrafts are being made.
Zaanse schans is both an open-air museum and an outdoor park open to public all year round. However, the opening hours of museums, shops, warehouses and workshops vary depending on the season. From April to May, almost all attractions open at 10 am and close at 5pm. There is no admission fee to view the village itself and several museums and workshops allow entry without a cost though some requires paying a small fee.
Visiting Zaanse schans is a fun day-trip for all ages which provides variety of activities making it an enjoyable experience for the whole family. Here’s a list of things you could do to fill up your day aside from enjoying the view of this charming village.
1. Visit a windmill and see how it operates
Ten traditional windmills are still fully operational up to this time where you could get in and watch the hard work of these mills as they produce paint, oil, spices, flour, and lumber.
2. Taste some cheese at Catharina Hoeve Cheese Farm
Come in for a free taste of authentic Dutch cheese and watch the cheese makers, dressed in their traditional costumes, demonstrate cheese production.
3. Go to see the wooden shoe workshop
Admire the conventional way of making the famous Dutch wooden shoes out of wood and a chisel. Also, take time to look at the finest collections of clogs displayed in the shoe museum.
4. Learn how wooden barrels are made
At Tiemstra Coopery, appreciate the difficult process of producing wooden barrels to transport variety of goods.
5. Salivate as they demonstrate chocolate making at CocoaLab
Feed your curiosity and watch how chocolate is made from cocoa beans using the old methods and techniques.
6. Get a taste of liquor from a wide range of flavors
Learn the process of distilling alcohol and try some liquor at Liqueur Distellery de Tweekoppige Phoenix.
7. Be impressed on how pewter products are made completely by hand
Enjoy the demonstrations on casting pewter without any machines involved in the entire process at Tinkoepel Pewter Foundry.
8. Visit the Weaver’s House
Here you will find weavers in their traditional clothing showing Holland’s old craft of weaving.
9. Peek inside museums and understand Holland’s history
Take a look on the exhibits inside the Zaans Museum and appreciate the heritage of the Zaan region. If you are interested to see the early beginnings of the popular Dutch supermarket chain, visit the Albert Heijn Museum Shop. Or you might want to learn Holland’s history through their collection of timepieces, come inside the Zaanse Time Museum.
10. Shop for souvenirs
There are several shops at Zaanse schans that sell a range of items. You would never run out of choices and surely you could never resist from buying a piece of Holland for you or for your friends.
How long would it take to explore Zaanse Schans?
Half day is an ample time to stroll around this lovely Dutch Village. A trip to Zaanse schans is usually combined with other tourist attractions nearby such as the fishing villages of Volendam and Marken. Others prefer to spend the morning in Zaanse schans and continue their journey to Delft and Hague where they put in their time the whole afternoon. If you’ll visit Zaanse schans during spring, it would be great to catch the flower fields in full bloom in Keukenhof Gardens, around 40 minutes from Zaanse schans by car.