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Zaanse Schans Amsterdam

Why you should visit Zaanse Schans

Windmills and Wooden Clogs

What is Zaanse Schans?

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).

Zaanse Schans all you need to know Q&A Travel Tips and more Get it all Travel Guide

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.

10 Questions and Answers - All you need to know before you go

1. How do I get to Zaanse Schans from 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.

2. What are the best times to visit Zaanse Schans to avoid crowds?

Early mornings and weekdays tend to be less crowded than weekends and afternoons.

Zaanse Schans mills

Since you are near to quite a lot of wonderful places, you might want to rent a car. 

Zaanse Schans Windmill

3. Are the windmills at Zaanse Schans still operational?

Yes, some of the windmills are still operational and used for various purposes, such as grinding spices and making paint.

4. Is it worth a visit?

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.

5. What are the best photo spots at Zaanse Schans?

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. 

Sunset at Zaanse Schans Perfect photo opportunities

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.

Zaanse Schans house
Zaanse Schans the best things to do while you visit

6. Can I buy cheese here?

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…

7. Is there a place to eat at Zaanse Schans?

Yes, there are several cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy Dutch cuisine and snacks.

8. Are there souvenir shops at Zaanse Schans?

Yes, there are souvenir shops where you can buy Dutch crafts, cheeses, and wooden shoes.

9. What are the best attractions for families with kids at Zaanse Schans?

Children usually enjoy watching the clog-making demonstrations and exploring the windmills.

Netherlands Clogs

Another attraction is the souvenir shops at Zaanse Schans?

Yes, there are souvenir shops where you can buy Dutch crafts, cheeses, and wooden shoes.

10. Is Zaanse Schans wheelchair accessible?

The main paths are wheelchair accessible, but some buildings and windmills may have limited accessibility.

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11. Are there boat tours from Zaanse Schans?

Yes, you can take boat tours on the nearby Zaan River to see the area from the water.

12. Can I see tulip fields at Zaanse Schans?

Zaanse Schans is not known for tulip fields; for that, you’d need to visit the Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse during the spring.

Zaanse Schans Sunset photos are the best stay in a unique place and discover the beauty of the area
Windmills in Amsterdam Zaandam Zaanse Schans

13. Is there a recommended itinerary for a day trip to Zaanse Schans?

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:

  • Visit De Kat paint mill
  • Witness the making of tinworks by hand
  • Go to the museum Zaanse Tijd – Here you will find everything related to the concept of time and the mechanics behind it. 
  • Take photos at the Jisperhuisje – A replica of a traditional house in Jisp and the people there are dressed in traditional clothes.  The Dutch people are very friendly and will gladly let you take photos.

14. Can I take a guided tour of Zaanse Schans?

There are some great tours available, (especially the cheese-tasting tour) which you can easily book online.  

15. Where can I stay? What is the best places to stay?

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.

Only 12 minutes from Zaanse Schans, you’ll find this incredible and unique hotel in Zaandam, Netherlands.  (Also known as the Lego House.)  Close to the station with easy access to Amsterdam.

A unique experience.  You’ll have fabulous photos and stories to share after your trip.

16.  How much time do I need?

I think you need to put aside about 4 hours.  Depending on what you will be doing while visiting.

17. Is there an entrance fee to Zaanse Schans?

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:

  • It allows you free admission to the Zaanse Museum as well as the Weaver’s House, Cooperage, and Jisperhuisje.
  • You get discounts from participating souvenir shops and restaurants.
  • There is also a discount on the Windmill boat cruises.  The windmills themselves are not included in the card, so you have to buy tickets at the different windmills.
Zaanse Schans in Zaandam near Amsterdam is a pretty place to visit Things to do

18. What other nearby attractions can I visit in addition to Zaanse Schans?

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.

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19. What languages are spoken by staff at Zaanse Schans?

English is widely spoken, and you’ll also find information in Dutch and other languages.

20. Can I buy tickets online?

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.

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