Zaanse Schans is a small typical Dutch village for which we suggest you to keep half or even one full day aside for visiting the surrounding areas as they are really beautiful and different than what you get in the city of Amsterdam. You can enjoy a day visiting castles in the Utrecht area (any time of the year), go biking around the small villages near Amsterdam and take a closer look to how the tulip fields grow in Keukenhof (Garden of Europe) during Mar-Apr or simply go by train or car and have a walk in the historical town of Zaandam to see the windmills.
First you will need to decide which way you prefer to reach Zaanse Schans which is actually a neighborhood of the small village of Zaandam where you can admire historical windmills:
– Train – this is the cheapest and fastest way to get from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans. You can get a train ticket from Amsterdaam Central train station for 7.20 EUR return ticket, direction Uitgeest and the ride takes only 15 min (3 stops if you take the Sprinter) until Zaandijk Zaanse Schans. Going back you will have more train options going through Zaanse Schans Central so you can pick whichever (every 5 min a train is leaving to Amsterdaam Central).
– Bus – you can check the bus schedule at Amsterdaam Central: bus 391 leaves every 30 min and costs around 10 EUR.
– Bike – as this small village is “bike-friendly” it is an option to have a 1h stroll including ferry ride on your way to Zaandam (19 km).
Now, if you prefer the train, you should get your way pretty quickly to the windmills area and if you need you will find a map is available right next to the train station. If you’re lucky and get there early, you can get some directions from the local guide sitting next to the map and explaining your day “to-do list”.
If you really can’t get your head around you can also follow the directions we have ready for you here:
Once we got there, first thing that striked us was the “scent” of the chocolate factory combined with the “scent” of the cheese. It is quite hard to take in the 1st place but hey… you will not get those tasty things all together if they are not produced in this small village hehe 😛
First you should get to this bridge.
If you are lucky enough you can go on the other side of the bridge pretty quick. We were “not-so-lucky” so we had to take a photo session when getting there because the bridge was up (oh…). But it only took 10 min and the view was incredibleee…
Those windmills and the Zaan river…they look so good in the pics :X
Next when you enter the Zaanse touristic area you should follow the path on the left. First building you see on the left is the Clock museum. A visit here is highly recommended as the clocks are really amazing and mesmerizing 😮
If you want to take the Zaanse card you can buy it from the Clock Museum and costs you 15 EUR with all admissions included (see here) or use the Amsterdam card as we did and you also get free entrance everywhere.
What else can you visit:
Right next to the Clock museum is the Museum Shop Albert Heijn where you will find the usual stuff from a supermarket plus the vintage cool “look” …worth a visit!
The Windmills – out of all below 2 at least should be open daily
De Huisman (the home owner) – a windmill used to grind mustard seeds
De Gekroonde Poelenburg (Crowned Poelen Castle) – a windmill used to saw wood
De Kat (the cat) – a windmill used to grind the elements used in manufacturing paint
De Zoeker (the seeker) – a windmill used to press oil out of all kind of seeds
De Bonte Hen (the speckled hen) – another oil windmill, and
Het Jonge Schaap (the young sheep) – another wood-sawing windmill
..Beside the fact that the windmills are incredible you should know that Holland itself was actually underwater so pay attention to the soil when you are outside near the windmills and you will see very old seashells on the ground all around you… from thousands years ago?
The Zaanse museum where you can admire traditional Dutch paintings, costumes, and artefacts.
The bakery museum where you can buy cookies or eat some pancakes …delice!
Deft ceramic shop where you will find the unique ceramic on lower prices than what you can find in Amsterdam.
Cacaolab where you can eat ice-cream, chocolate or drink a hot chocolate made by yourself or buy a chocolate beer or some chocolate powder to take home or… too much chocolate aaarghh!!! :)))
The cheese farm where you can see and get a presentation of how the cheese is made and have some tasting of all kind of cheese made in the small town and buy some to take home. Unless you are lactose intolerant you can get as much cheese as you can carry …in the belly or in the shopping bag 😀
The Wooden Shoe (klompen) where you can see a bit of klomp history, how the wooden shoes are made, you can try klomp around to see how it feels and of course you can buy some small or large wooden shoes to take home and stress the neighbors muhahaha. Or if you don’t have neighbors or don’t want to stress them you can try the fluffy fabric China made klompen 🙂
Enough being said…now klomp klomp! 😀
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