Must visit in the Netherlands: the Zaanse Schans
The Zaanse Schans is located nearby Amsterdam, in Zaandam. For the ones who have not heard of it: the Zaanse Schans is a district from the 18th and 19th century. You can find lots of windmills, old Dutch houses and musea in this district. In other words, you can find out more about the (old) Dutch culture in this district.
A few weeks ago, I went to the Zaanse Schans for my study. Even me, someone who is Dutch, loved to wander around the district. Although it was very crowded, the surroundings are beautiful.
There are many things you can do and see at the Zaanse Schans. Below, you can find some.
1. Visit some shops and buy some old Dutch candy
There are several shops on the Zaanse Schans. You can buy yourself some souvenirs, your own clogs, cheese, or you can buy some old Dutch candy. All the shops are typical Dutch and nice to take a look at. It differs per shop which time they open. They open between 08:00 and 10:00 and are open until 17:00/18:00.
2. Visit the musea of the Zaanse Schans
On the Zaanse Schans, you can find four musea, namely Museum Zaanse Tijd, Zaans Museum and Verkade Experience, Museumshop Albert Heijn (from the Dutch supermarket) and Bakery museum from 1658. The entrance fee differs per museum. The last two musea are free to enter, while the other two do have an entrance fee. The musea open between 09:00 and 10:30 and close between 16:00 and 18:00.
3. Go to, for example, the wooden shoe factory and cheese factory
The Zaanse Schans has some little companies which shows you the old Dutch life. You can go, for example, to the cheese factory or the wooden shoe factory and see how they make the famous Dutch cheese and clogs. Both of them are opened from 08:00 till 18:00 and free to enter.
4. Go into a windmill
There are a lot of windmills on the Zaanse Schans which you can enter to the inside. Some of the windmills you can only enter on appointment, others have their opening hours. Most of them also have an entrance fee, namely € 4,- for adults, € 2,- for children. From the windmills, you can have a nice look over the Zaanse Schans and see how a windmill looks from the inside.
You can reach the Zaanse Schans easily by train or by bus from Amsterdam. You can take bus line 391 from Amsterdam Central Station to the Zaanse Schans, which takes approximately 40 minutes. Furthermore, you can take the train from Amsterdam Central Station to Koog-Zaandijk. From this station, you can easily reach the district by walking approximately 15 minutes.
There is no entrance fee. The Zaanse Schans is free to enter and you can just wander around. You can find maps everywhere around the district and you can also buy an information brochure. There is also an application for the mobile phone available for when you are on the Zaanse Schans. With this application, you can find different kinds of routes through the district.
The opening times are very different for every little company in the district. Most of them are opened from 09:00/10:00 till 17:00/18:00. For the exact opening hours, you can take a look on the official website (click here).
One last tip: avoid visiting the Zaanse Schans in times when it may be busy (think of the weekends or in the vacation time). It can be very crowded by then. On other times it would be less crowded and more enjoyable to visit the Zaanse Schans.
Hopefully I have gave you enough information about the Zaanse Schans. In short, this is a beautiful district and must visit for everyone who is travelling to the Netherlands and would like to know more about the (old) Dutch culture.
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