Zaanse Schaans is a neighborhood near Amsterdam in the Netherlands. It has some well-preserved old windmills.
Get aboard bus # 91 (the bus stop is to the left if you exit Amsterdam Central Station from the front), frequency: 30 minutes, journey time: about 50 minutes.
Nearest Railway Station: Koog-Zaandijk / Zaandam.
You can rent bicycles from Amsterdam Central Station / Zaandam Railway Station. Yes, bicycles travel on trains. It’s the Netherlands! Zaanse Schaans can be accessed by ferry from a neighborhood on the other side of the river. Consider this whilst going back.
Zaanse Schaans is open throughout the year. However during the winter, some attractions might be open to the public only during weekends. There is no general admission fee. But entry to a windmill costs 2/3 euro. You can also buy a consolidated pass from the Zaanse Schaans museum.
You’ll come upon a photographer making a photo of you as you walk into the windmill area from the bus stop. On your way out, you can purchase a calendar and keychain with your photo on it!
I recommend having a look inside at least a couple of the windmills. Then up climb the ladder to the upper deck and soak in the breathtaking landscape.
I got to meet a couple of gentlemen operating this windmill and gather some firsthand knowledge from them. It’s hard work but the technology is amazing. All of the gears etc. are made of wood!
Zaanse Schaans has some beautiful Dutch houses and the oldest Albert Heijn. Albert Heijn is a chain of supermarkets in the Netherlands. I love their brand of chocolates.
There’s a cheese farm and a wooden shoe factory. I got to watch them make the cheese and sample all the cheese on offer. The lovely ladies working here are dressed in traditional Dutch costumes. The cost of cheese can be lower than some of the stores in the city of Amsterdam.
This stuff is real good!
There’s a wooden shoe factory! One gentleman demonstrates the process of making the famous Dutch shoes; one wooden shoe at a time. A block of wood is fixed to a machine that copies the shape of the template shoe that’s also fixed to the machine. The whole process lasts about five to seven minutes. It’s an interesting lesson. Don’t miss it.
However, in this day and age, the wooden shoes are mass produced.
Zaanse Schaans is one of the most accessible day trips from Amsterdam. I highly recommend a visit to Zaanse Schaans for it has some unique attractions such as breathtaking landscapes, old windmills, cheese farms, the wooden shoe factory and the oldest Albert Heijn; to mention a few. The Zaanse Schaans Museum runs a small cafe that has a restroom. You will also find a public toilet closer to the windmills.