The Zaanse Schans is a time machine to 18th century Holland. Picture this: working wooden windmills resting on the banks of the Zaan River, the cutest green wooden houses, the smell of chocolate in the air and yes, a clog making workshop. Nestled in the Dutch town of Zaandam, near Amsterdam, the Zaanse Schans is a must see site on your trip to Holland.
The area was once home to 600 windmills essentially creating the first industrial park. In fact, Napoleon visited the area and described the Zaanse Schans as “unique in its kind”. That rings true today. Quintessentially Dutch and touristed for good reason, make a day trip to Zaanse Schans to see this unique site for yourself!
We took on our first leg of our cycle journey from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans, being less than 17km away.
For cycle-skeptics, I encourage you to make this a day trip by bike! Living in Malta, neither of us had hopped on a bike for years and we made it in around 2 hours stopping along the way for breathers and photo opportunities. The Netherlands is a flat country meaning you will fly without any inclines!
Typical green wooden houses of Zaan line the banks of the Zaan River.
We made it to the Zaanse Schans and it was A D O R A B L E.
Our first look at the windmills of Zaans Schanse.
As we cycled through Zaandam to the Zaanse Schans, the smell of chocolate filled the air. We followed the scent and cycled past the chocolate factory in the area. At the Zaanse Schans there are diffferent workshops and shops (including a chocolate workshop!). I tried a rose petal white chocolate truffle and it was divine!
There’s something so unique and beautiful about the windmills on the bank of the river. We strolled past all of the windmills and found our way inside the oil producing windmill.
Wooden clogs line the doorway of the oil mill.
Large wheels grind linseed and produce oil. This windmill created the oils that the famous painters like Van Gogh used during the 18th and 19th century.
How to get to the Zaanse Schans | 16.5 km from Amsterdam
Train – Take the Sprinter from Amsterdam to Zaandijk Zaanse Schans station. | Duration 17 minutes by train + 10 minute walk | EUR 3.20 for the one way train
Cycle – Check out the routes here | 39 – 52 km cycle loop depending on the route from Amsterdam