Zaanse Schans is a neighborhood in the Dutch town of Zaandam, near Amsterdam. This special place and open-air museum is known for its historic windmills and distinctive green wooden houses. At Zaanse Schans, you can immerse yourself in a blend of history and Dutch culture.
Traditional Netherlands houses and beautiful traditional Dutch windmills create a picture-perfect vista. Some of the windmills are actually still working and you can go and explore inside. The sound of cracking wood as the giant cogs turn is something amazing to see and hear. You can even climb up to the deck of the mill and enjoy the beautiful panoramic views.
This is also the place to buy your clogs (traditional Netherlands wooden shoes).
Visitors can explore historic windmills, visit museums, watch clog and cheese-making demonstrations, and stroll through picturesque Dutch villages. As it is close to Amsterdam it is the perfect day trip when you’re staying in Amsterdam.
You can take a train from Amsterdam Central Station to Zaandijk Zaanse Schans station, which is just a short walk from the attraction.
Zaanse Schans can easily be reached from Amsterdam via public transport. The bus routes are very good, but you can also reach it by car or even cycling there. It is approximately 16.5 km from Amsterdam.
From April tot September you can rent your bike just outside the railway station Zaandijk Zaanse.
Early mornings and weekdays tend to be less crowded than weekends and afternoons.
Since you are near to quite a lot of wonderful places, you might want to rent a car.
Yes, some of the windmills are still operational and used for various purposes, such as grinding spices and making paint.
I would definitely recommend a visit to the Zaans Museum with its many interactive exhibitions. Here you can witness the processing of raw materials, including activities like chocolate making and the craft of carving wooden clogs. You’ll have the opportunity to observe skilled artisans passionately practicing their crafts, eager to share their knowledge and engage in informative conversations with you.
Some of the best photo spots include the iconic windmills, the wooden houses, and the picturesque bridges. The iconic windmills are the highlight of Zaanse Schans. Capture them from different angles to showcase their historic charm. The bridge over the Zaan River offers a fantastic vantage point for photographing the windmills and the scenic landscape. If you visit during the spring, the tulip gardens in the area provide a burst of vibrant colors.
Take a photo from one of the boat tours to capture Zaanse Schans from a unique perspective on the water.
For breathtaking shots, consider arriving early for sunrise or staying late for sunset when the light is soft and golden.
Yes, visit Catharina Hoeve – a replica of the traditional farm from Oostzaan. Here you can learn more about the traditions of cheese making. The daily demonstrations are in 10 different languages. A visit to Catharina Hoeve is also an opportunity to taste true Dutch cheese, and yes, you need to buy some for a snack later in the day…
Children usually enjoy watching the clog-making demonstrations and exploring the windmills.
Yes, there are souvenir shops where you can buy Dutch crafts, cheeses, and wooden shoes.
The main paths are wheelchair accessible, but some buildings and windmills may have limited accessibility.
Yes, you can take boat tours on the nearby Zaan River to see the area from the water.
Zaanse Schans is not known for tulip fields; for that, you’d need to visit the Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse during the spring.
You can plan your day based on your interests, but typically, a few hours is sufficient to explore the main attractions. You can enjoy stuff like:
There are some great tours available, (especially the cheese-tasting tour) which you can easily book online.
Stay in a luxurious Amsterdam Zaanse Schans Loft Apartment. This beautiful property is located in Zaandijk at the riverside of Zaan and is only 650 m from Station Koog-Zaandijk.
I think you need to put aside about 4 hours. Depending on what you will be doing while visiting.
Entry to the Zaanse Schans neighborhood is free. However, some individual museums and attractions within Zaanse Schans do have admission fees. If you want to save money buy a Zaansse Schans Card.
These are the benefits of having a card:
You can explore the historic city of Amsterdam, visit the Anne Frank House, or take a short train ride to Haarlem or Alkmaar for more cultural experiences.
And while you’re in the Netherlands, visit the fabulous Keukenhof.
English is widely spoken, and you’ll also find information in Dutch and other languages.
We always advise that you buy your tickets online before going.
In conclusion: If you are looking for information on the Dutch traditions, or if you want to experience the Dutch traditions yourself, this is where you should go while in the Netherlands. It is good fun and a really nice family day out.