A visit to the dreamy traditional dutch village of Zaanse Schans

A mere 30 minutes ride from the center of Amsterdam would transport you back into the Dutch Golden Age. The Zaanse Schans is recreated for an authentic Dutch experience dating back to 17th and 18th century and is a popular tourist destination.

A train from Amsterdam central to the Koog-Zaandijk station and a 15-minutes walk through the serene and calm village of Zaandijk town. The first glimpse of windmills and you are there!

Zaanse Schans

The traditional windmills dotting the Zaan River, the quaint wooden houses, and the stunning landscape of the neighborhood of Zaanse Schans would leave you in awe. Admission to Zaanse Schans is free however a small entrance fee would be required to visit the windmills.

Zaanse Schans

Zaan region is one of the oldest industrial areas and it is believed that the bygone times have seen more than 600 functional windmills of which less than 10 remains today.

The mills are used for different purposes like sawing wood, grinding oil or spices and grinding the color stones to create traditional paints. De Zoeker is an extremely old oil mill dating back to 1672. Zaanse Schans also has two mini-windmills one of which is the last remaining stone-pounding mill in the Zaan region.

The aroma of freshly ground spices from one of the windmills filled the air and we decided to pay it a visit. There were several pairs of millstones grinding the raw materials in one corner of the warehouse.

Zaanse Schans

The entrance was free and the windmill also housed an authentic spice shop. Watching the heavy grinding machine pounding the raw materials was a remarkable experience.

Catharina Hoeve cheese farm has demonstrations where a lady wearing traditional clothing explains different stages of cheese production and the variety of cheese they processed.

Zaanse Schans

At the end of the session, we had a chance to sample different flavors of cheese. Chhavi had great time savoring the cheese while the lady took pleasure in offering different flavors for her tasting. The entrance to the farm is free. The farm also houses a shop where one can shop from an assortment of the delicious cheese.

Zaanse Schans

There are several craftsmen’s workshops held in the Zaanse Schans region for all kinds of traditional Dutch crafts. The Craftsmen use different expert techniques for demonstration. Almost all of the demonstrations are free of charge and these crafts make wonderful souvenir take-away.

Visit the wooden shoe workshop and an attractive clog museum for an impressive collection of painted and carved wooden shoes or the tempting Zaans Gedaan CacaoLab for a demonstration of the traditional way of chocolate making using traditional utensils and the 18th-century methods. Interested people can also enjoy a brief chocolate making workshop.

Many of the village’s characteristic houses are turned into museums; souvenir shops or workshops while many other serves as private residences.

Zaanse Schans

Zaanse Schans

Traditional functional windmills and the village lifestyle provides one with a vivid understanding of the past of Dutch.

A boat tour on the Zaan River can be done for wonderful panoramic vistas of Zaanse Schans and the mills. Visit Zaanse Schans for there is so much to do, see, taste and experience that can make one fall in love with the traditional Dutch village!

Have you visited Zaanse Schans and its traditional windmills? Share with us your experiences in comments.

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29 Comment

  1. Pink says: Reply

    Nice place I have never been there before.and by the way nice post

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thank you so much.

  2. Wow, this is amazing. I love seeing places like this. So very picturesque! I wish I could go there! Maybe someday….

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Zaanse Schans is amazing indeed. Thanks for stopping by Emily 🙂

  3. Giorgi says: Reply

    I do travel a lot but not as much as I would want to. This post makes me want to travel right now.


    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Glad you liked it Giorgi. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Literally saw one of those type of dutch villages in a horror movie. But it’s great seeing real life pictures of them!

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      The dutch villages are incredibly beautiful and nowhere like what you think of. Do make a plan to visit them and we are sure you are going to love them.

  5. Emma says: Reply

    Great photos and blog. I wish i could do more travelling!

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thanks Emma.

  6. Wow! I have ancestors from around that area – I would love to visit! I think its so cool you were able to see the spices being crushed and learn about how the cheese is made, and I am sure it was delicious! Great post!

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thanks Kirsten. Glad to know that you have your roots into such a wonderful place. Yes it was a great experience visiting Zaanse Schans.

  7. Jenn M says: Reply

    what a great place! The photographs you took are great as well! Have happy and safe travels

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thanks Jenn. Happy Travelling!

  8. This looks like such a fun, beautiful place. May need to add to the bucket list :). Thanks for sharing!

    – Desi

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Yes Desiree it is a beautiful place indeed 🙂

  9. Sandra says: Reply

    oh this village looks so cute ! It is so bad that the sun wasn’t there for your visit 😉

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Agree it was a little misty but that did not lessen the beauty of the place in anyway. Thanks for stopping by Sandra.

  10. Wow great pictures! That sure is a lot of fog. Adds more effect to the place. I sure would love to visit and explore that place myself one day. I love visiting and learning from places that are rich with history.

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thanks! Yes it is a beautiful place indeed and worth visiting. Do plan a visit and let us know. We would love to hear your experience. 🙂

  11. It all looks like a story book! How fun this trip must have been. I love the fog.

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      True the place looks surreal. We loved it and had a great time. Thanks for stopping by.

  12. Kerry says: Reply

    Not visited the Netherlands yet, but it is on my list. My family have been to Amsterdam and say it’s very picture esque. Your pictures definitely show that, looks like you had a great time 🙂

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Yes Kerry we had a great time. Amsterdam is an awesome place and Zaanse Schans which is around half an hour from Amsterdam central is great for a laid back experience away from city hustle bustle.

  13. I love love love these photos! They are just beautiful! And those shots of the windmills? Ethereal! I love windmills! 🙂

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thanks Jennifer glad you liked them. 🙂 Thanks for your lovely comments.

  14. Great place to get a taste of 18th century living, especially all of that cheese. We Love cheese. Looks like a great place to visit Thanks for sharing. btw. also pinned this post 😉

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      That’s very sweet of you Celeste. Yes visiting Zaanse Schans was a great experience. Thanks for stopping by.

  15. It is a nice idea introducing a place that is a bit off the beaten track.

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