Is it a city? A town? A river resort? Actually, the Zaanse Schans, inside the beautiful Zaandam district, is not really any of the above. It is an experience—a trip into the past. It is a residential area, but everything about this popular attraction just north of Amsterdam spells history. If you visit, you will be counted amongst the one million visitors that travel to the Zaanse Schans each year.
All that is Dutch
The Zaanse Schans represents Dutch culture at its most authentic. By retaining the historical artefacts of the 18th and 19th centuries, the district imbues you with the feeling that you have stepped back into a long-ago age of industriousness. The region around the Zaan river was productive in every industry that flourished at the time: woodwork, all sorts of oils and spices, fibres, dyes, shipbuilding, and more.
You’ve probably guessed how all this industry and culture came about! It’s the windmills and the water, of course!
Wood sawing became a breeze (literally and figuratively) by changing the direction of the mill blades into a vertical movement. Prosperous industrialists who owned the mills could afford to build the beautiful homes and gardens you see in the area. Take a tour of the windmills by boat. You will view some of the remaining iconic windmills along the Zaan river. They are reminiscent of the period when 600 mills were turning over their massive production of goods. Six of the eight windmills that have been arranged in an interesting formation (just right for your camera’s viewfinder), worked in industrial production. The area is an outdoor museum and has been built into a cultural district for you to enjoy.
How to get to the Zaanse Schans from Amsterdam
By public transportation
Check exact details and times from 9292, but the following suggestions will give you some ideas for reaching the Zaanse Schans, using public transportation.
Train: A train leaves every half an hour from Amsterdam Centraal to Zaandijk Zaanse Schans. The trip takes 18 minutes. Add a 15-minute walk to reach the Zaanse Schans.
Bus: Line 391 leaves from Amsterdam, Prins Hendrikkade (near Amsterdam Centraal), every 30 minutes and takes about 40 minutes to reach the Zaanse Schans.
Driving will take 16 minutes to cover the 18.3 Km distance.
You won’t have to worry about how to reach the Zaanse Schans if you take a guided tour. You can take a tour that will focus on the Zaanse Schans alone, with special emphasis on the windmills, or you can choose a tour that covers a number of attractions in the area, for example this tour that visits both the Zaanse Schans and Giethoorn. Many guided tours are available for the beautiful districts north of Amsterdam.