A vacation to the Land of the Windmill is certainly not worth it if you don’t visit the windmill itself. Many choices of locations to feel the experience with this molen. One of them is Zaanse Schans, a small village in the Zaandam region, in the north of the Netherlands.
You will be taken back to life in the Netherlands in the 17th and 18th centuries. Here there are authentic old Dutch houses, windmills, tin goods factories, milk and cheese factories, bakeries, klompen factories, weaving factories, and others.
You can take a train from Amsterdam Centraal Station and arrive at Koog-Zaandijk station in 15 minutes, then walk for about 10 minutes.
What’s going on at Zaanse Schans?
Of course, the molen or windmill is the main attraction that tourists want to enjoy. There are open-air windmills that are photo objects and are free to explore for free and some have to pay an entrance fee to witness the various work processes inside the windmill building.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Zaan region was an important industrial area in the Netherlands. Hundreds of windmills operate to produce linseed oil, paint, snuff, mustard, paper, and various other products. Typical country houses are now museums, gift shops, or workshops.
Some windmills are still used for the wood-making process, while others become cultural heritage.
- Klompen Museum
His full name is Kooijman Souvenirs & Clogs Wooden Shoe Workshop. The Klompen Museum exhibits a variety of typical Dutch klompen, or wooden sandals, both antiques from all over the Netherlands or from other countries such as Japan. The history of klompen can be read in full on the wall.
You can also witness the making of klompen directly. With modern techniques, it only takes a few minutes to make, while in the past it could take more than 4 hours. There is also a souvenir shop here that sells various klompen and various knick-knacks typical of this Tulip country.
- Zaans Museum and Verkade Experience
The story of everyday life in the Zaan region for centuries seems to be back here. Zaan is one of the oldest industrial areas in Europe. Right in the middle of the museum is the Verkade Experience. You will be transported back in time to see a chocolate and biscuit factory in the early 20th century. The original engine is still running and reenacting the history of Verkade, a Dutch biscuit.
In 1871, the famous French painter Claude Monet visited the Zaan region. He was so amazed by the unique landscape of this region that he painted up to 25 paintings. At the Zaans Museum, you can see his work.
- Clock Museum
The Zaanse Tijd Museum or Time Museum contains the history of the craft of watchmaking from the Dutch Golden Age to the 20th century. It takes special skills to make these various timekeepers, which have characters depicting the Zaan region in the past such as windmills spinning or whaling scenes.
- Albert Heijn Museum
Albert Heijn is the most famous supermarket in the Netherlands. First established in Zaan in 1887, the grocery store is now a museum, complete with original furniture and knick-knacks.
- Catharina Hoeve Cheese Factory
Surely you know that the Netherlands is famous for its cheese. Well at Zaanse Schans there is a cheese factory that is still authentic since the 17th century. You can watch a cheese-making demo and taste the various products. Various cheese products from cows, goats, and sheep can be purchased to take home.
- Wevershuis or Weaving House
This Wevershuis or Weaving House made traditional Dutch sailor clothes and windmill workers’ clothes from 1850 to the early 20th century. Now apart from functioning as a museum, Weverhuis also still makes clothes and employs weavers who still wear their traditional costumes.
You can sit at the weaving table or rest on the couch to feel the experience of being a weaving family.
Well, that are 7 tourist attractions in Zaanse Schans that are interesting to visit. Don’t forget to buy cheese and klompen souvenirs!