The Zaanse Schans
Visit the old windmills, authentic houses and unique museums.
The Zaanse Schans is the ultimate place in Holland to become acquainted with life during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Visit old windmills, farms, houses and museums along the water, as well as, of course, the Museumwinkel. There, you can see how the Dutch went about their daily shopping up until a few generations ago.
If you wish to get an accurate impression of life in Holland in the 17th and 18th centuries, visit the Zaanse Schans. In this region, you will see authentic houses, windmills, a tinware factory, a cheese and dairy factory and other crafts. Both inside and out, the old Zaan style is visible.
- Learn more about the old crafts of the Zaan region
- Discover the life of a 19th-century family in the Honig Breethuis.
- Take a boat trip past the many windmills
During the 17th century, more than 600 windmills were constructed in the area around the Zaanse Schans, creating the first industrial zone. The windmills were used, among others, to grind spices, produce paint, saw wood, and make oil. A number of these windmills still exist and can still be visited today. You can see how these wind-powered machines work, inside and out.
There are various museums you can visit at the Zaanse Schans. There is the Museumwinkel, for example: a grocer’s from the past, as they existed before the emergence of large supermarkets. In the Bakkerijmuseum (Bakery Museum), you can discover the old craft of baking, and the Honig Breethuis presents the home of a 19th-century merchant family. The Museum Zaanse Tijd shows a collection of unique clocks, most of which still work. The Zaan Museum has a special collection of utensils, clothing and paintings from the area. You can also visit the Verkade Experience here, to find yourself in a 20th-century chocolate factory. The original machines there are still at work to produce the very best chocolate and cookies.
Zaanse Schans by boat
The Zaanse Schans lies by the waterway of de Zaan, making the area particularly suited to exploration by boat. There are various shipping companies that offer boat tours. Step aboard the koeienboot (cow ship), which, as the name implied, was used to transport cattle across the water in the past. The guide will tell you wonderful stories along the way, about life in the Zaanstreek in the past. You can also take the voetenveer (pedestrian ferry), which will take you to both banks of the Zaan. For those with their own boats, there are various jetties.
Sleeping at the Zaanse Schans
If you want to spend the night in true Zaan style, book a room at Heerlijck Slapen op de Zaanse Schans. This Bed and Breakfast is furnished in the old Zaan style. There are more hotels in the area, of course. Take a look at the options to find your perfect place to spend the night.