A pleasant day trip from Amsterdam is a visit to the picturesque Dutch village park at Zaanse Schans, approximately 15km north of the city.
You will find iconic views of the 6 windmills set on the river Zaan, traditional houses, shops and museums.
Zaanse Schans has become a very popular tourist attraction given that entrance into the area is free. There is a visitor information desk (open daily 0900-1700) in the reception of the main Zaans Museum.
The Zaans Museum (open daily 1000-1700) gives a historical overview of the people and industry of the area. It has a varied collection of paintings, costumes, furniture as well as multimedia exhibits. The museum also houses the Verkade Pavilion which is a history of the chocolate and biscuit maker. Admission costs €10, children 4-17 €6. Museum card holders get free entry.
There are 6 working industrial windmills at Zaanse Schans:
- mustard mill
De Gekroonde Poelenburg - sawmill
De Kat - paint mill
De Zoeker - oil mill
De Bonte Hen - oil mill
het Jonge Schaap - sawmill
Visits to the windmills costs €4 each or €2 for children 6-12. You will find traditional craftsman at work.
The Museumshop Albert Heijn Grocery is a reconstruction of the first ever Albert Heijn store from Oostzaan dating back to the late 19th century. Today Albert Heijn is the Netherlands's biggest supermarket chain. Entrance is free.
Other museums at Zaanse Schans are the Zaan Time Museum and the Bakery Museum. Note, these are closed on Mondays. There is a Zaanse Schans card available for purchase which will save you a couple of euros for entry into the Zaanse museum and a windmill visit.
River cruises can be taken from the 'Aan 't Glop' jetty - they depart on the hour 1200-1500 (Tue-Sun) and take 50 minutes. Cost is €6 (€3 for children 0-12). Private baot tours are also available for groups.
In terms of food and drink at Zaanse Schans there are 2 restaurants and the museum café.
It is well worth getting out of Amsterdam to have a look around Zaanse Schans, a picture postcard version of a traditional Dutch village in a water and country setting.
Take one of the regular stopping trains from Amsterdam Central (direction Alkmaar) to Koog Zandijk - a day return (2016) costs €6.20 and takes just under 20 mins. There is a €1 surcharge for disposable tickets.
From there it's about 15 mins walk to Zaanse Schans - just follow the signs. Walk up the road then turn left towards the windmill and then right to cross over the bridge.
Alternatively, Connexxion's Industrial Heritage bus line (391) runs from the Oost (east) bus station at Amsterdam Central to Zaandam and the Zaanse Schans windmills. The trip takes about 40 minutes and a single costs €5. An Amsterdam & Region Day Card costs €13.50.
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