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The Zaanse Schans: the Netherlands at its most beautiful

Day trip | The Zaanse Schans: traditional Netherlands and windmills

by Sabine
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Languages / Talen

There we are. On the couch at my parents’ house. We spent four days in the Netherlands: what are we going to do? Brother and sister-in-law have to be somewhere near Zaandam that afternoon. So why not go to the Zaanse Schans? Thus, it is suggested. Well, the Zaanse Schans. Never been there before. When I think of the Zaanse Schans, I always think of millions of Japanese with a few windmills in the background. Would that really be the case? Now I’m curious, though. So we split into two cars and drive north in an hour. Once parked (9 euros!) and got out, we walk in the cold with sunshine towards the Zaanse Schans. The windmills loom. An image suddenly very different from the one in my mind. It reminds me of old pictures of Holland, skating on wooden slats, history. Without Japanese. I stop abruptly and behold with pride this extraordinary scene: this is love at first sight.


On the Zaanse Schans

The beautiful Old Dutch wooden mills and houses from the 18th and 19th centuries, cute little bridges, wooden shoes everywhere…. I just can’t get enough of this Dutch picture. We first decide to have our picture taken as real tourists sitting in the big wooden shoes. Because of course, with all those beautiful views, this is the place to capture this special togetherness.


The Clog Museum

Then we go to the clog museum. Gee, how interesting! Do you know how they actually make wooden shoes? A life demonstration shows that from a soaking wet piece of wood you can make a wooden shoe within 5 minutes, using the machine. By hand, it takes half an hour. Then needs to dry for some time and then be painted (or not). Fortunately, I can control myself and manage to avoid being stuck with a pair of clogs now. But beautiful they are!


Lunch with pancakes

Then lunch follows. We had actually planned, with Rik and Priscilla having to leave, to go to Haarlem. But we like it here so much and haven’t seen half of it, so we’re staying. But first, eat pancakes! With apple and cinnamon: my favorite! Wonderful, what a treat this is.


The mills on the Zaanse Schans

And then the windmills. An oil mill, grist mill, paint mill, spice mill…. and much more. With the Zaan, the meadows, the wind, the reeds…. just beautiful. We enter a few, but most require payment (4 euros pp) and we don’t. Holland is really heartily expensive as it suddenly appears.


Photographed together again after a year

With all those beautiful mills and nature, there are a lot of pictures to take. Mom with mill. Porridge with mill. Jimmy with mill. Rik and Priscilla with mill. Together with a windmill. Really, how cool is this!


And cold that it is!


Old Dutch candy store on the Zaanse Schans

And besides those mills, there is also the Dutch village to walk through. Because really, the Zaanse Schans is just a neighborhood in Zaandam. More cute bright green houses, some are inhabited, others contain a store or museum. We are going to see the Old Dutch candy store inside. You guessed it: full of Old Dutch candy. How fun is that to see! And yes they also sell oliebollen (typical Dutch food with new years), so I can immediately cross off my goal of eating at least one oliebol during this visit as well. All covered in powdered sugar, but delicious that they were!


The Zaanse Schans: discover Holland at its most beautiful.

It is so wonderfully beautiful, cozy, cold here…. I don’t want to leave at all yet. But without us even noticing, time flew by. Suddenly it’s 5 p.m. and instead of just a morning, we’ve been walking around here all day. After a blue sky, things suddenly began to turn cloudy. A sign that it is time to leave. We skipped Haarlem and enthusiastically drove back home. What a beautiful memory… A thoroughly Dutch day. Incredibly, I actually saw very little of the beautiful Netherlands. Asia, Africa, Middle East, South America…. but I just skipped my own country. The Zaanse Schans turns out to be a perfect day out to explore the Netherlands. Immediately my favorite! Have you been to the Zaanse Schans yet?


I am wondering: where else in the Netherlands can we find such a wow moment? Meanwhile, I also have Kinderdijk visited. Click on the link to read if this was as beautiful as the Zaanse Schans. Which do you like better: Kinderdijk or the Zaanse Schans?

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