Tourist’s guide to Zaandam and Zaanse Schans: windmills near Amsterdam

What makes the city of Zaandam (Holland) attractive for tourists? First of all, the famous house of Peter I, because it was in this Dutch city that the Russian tsar learned the basics of shipbuilding. Millions of travelers come here to visit the unique museum under the sky – the ethnographic village of Zaanse Schans, time has seemed to stop here, every corner is saturated with the spirit of history.

Ethnographic village of Zaanse Schans

general information

Zaandam in the Netherlands is a settlement and at the same time the administrative center of the Zaanstad region, which is located in the western part of the country in the province of North Holland. Zaandam is a suburb of Amsterdam and is located from the capital of the Netherlands at a distance of 17 km, if you move to the north-west.

Street in the city of Zaandam

Zaandam Square is 23 km2, about 70 thousand people live here. The city has a high population density – a little more than 3 thousand people per 1 km2. This is due to the fact that Zaandam is an industrial village, where many enterprises of different directions are concentrated.

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Interesting fact! The name comes from the name of the Zaan River, on the banks of which there is a settlement.

On the south side, Zaandam is limited by a canal connecting the Dutch capital with the North Sea. In the west, the border of the village is the Zaan River. Directly in the village there are two large reservoirs – in the northeast, in the picturesque park Jagersveld. People come here to relax and have a good time not only locals, but also guests of Zaandam. The second body of water is located in the southeastern part of the village.

Historical excursion

Zaandam appeared at the end of the 12th century, when Western and Eastern Zaan merged. The status of the city of Zaandam received by order of the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.

Good to know! Western and Eastern Zaan are two ancient settlements that appeared in the early 14th century. The settlement received a part of the word “dam” by the name of the dam built near Zaandam in the 13th century.


In the period from the 16th to the 18th century, the whaling industry was a source of income for the Dutch city. More than fifty shipyards were built in Zaandam, from where two dozen sea vessels annually came out. Since the 19th century, industry has been actively developing in the village, new enterprises are opened that operate on wind energy (it was created by numerous mills built throughout the Netherlands). In the Netherlands, paper, varnishes and paints, spices and cocoa, tobacco, oils were produced, woods were expertly processed.

Industry powered by wind power

In the mid-19th century, wind power was gradually replaced by steam engines, however, Zaandam managed to retain the status of a shipbuilding center. In addition, a cocoa and chocolate factory and a logging company are operating here today, and ammunition and weapons are produced in the city.

In the second half of the 20th century, Zaandam became part of the municipality of Zaanstad, and in 2011 received the status of its capital.

Interesting fact! Since 2008, the city authorities have reconstructed the city center. One of the original projects is Inverdan, in which the façade parts of modern buildings were decorated with images of traditional Dutch architecture.


Of course, the most visited place of Zaandam is Peter’s house, where the Russian tsar lived 8 days. During this time, the monarch obtained permission to work at the shipyards of the Dutch East India Company that was famous at that time.

Good to know! The Dutch city was visited with pleasure by the artist Claude Monet. For several months he created 25 paintings, a dozen sketches.

The house of Peter the Great in Zaandam is not the only attraction. There are 128 monuments of national importance and 83 – municipal ones. The list of attractions includes residential buildings, mill constructions, churches, and monuments.

Zaanse Schans – Mill Village

The settlement of Zaanse Schans in the Netherlands is located, 17 km from the capital. Given the excellent transport links between the settlements of the Netherlands, it is not difficult to get from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans on your own. There are several ways to do this.

Bus number 391 to Zaanse Schans

By public transport.

  • By bus number 391. Flights depart every quarter hour from the railway station in the capital. The route takes 40 minutes.
  • By train to Zaandeyk station. The road takes a little more than 15 minutes, then another 15 minutes will have to walk from the station.

By car . Just enter the address in the navigator: Schansend 7, Zaandam. Parking near the village is paid – for cars – 10 €, for buses – 18 € per day.

Riding a bike in Zaanse Shan

How to get from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schan by bike. This is a common way of transportation in the Netherlands, bicycle lanes are equipped in every locality, and there are many places for this type of transport in the parking lot.

In the high season – from April to October – Zaanse Schans is easily accessible by bicycle taxi, which goes from Zaandeyk station to the mill village. You can also call a taxi and comfortably get to your destination.

Zaanse Schans in the Netherlands

Photo: Zaanse Schans, Netherlands

Please note: 20 km from Amsterdam is located the colorful city of Haarlem , which is not very popular among tourists, but there is something to see.

Welcome to the mill village

Zaanse Schans is one of the most distinctive and colorful sights of the Netherlands and the entire state of the Netherlands . Here you can spend the whole day enjoying the atmosphere, history and culture of the country. The houses in the village date back to the 17th century, be sure to visit the mills, several museums, take part in a master class on creating unique wooden shoes – klomps.

Zaanse Schans Village

Interesting to know! The main street is Kalverringdijk.


If you ask locals about the main attraction of Zaanse Schans, they will probably answer you – mills. These structures are built throughout the Netherlands. It is believed that Dutch designs are the invention of the Persians, but there is no evidence for this.

Interesting fact! According to some historians, the first mill constructions in Holland appeared before the year 1000, but they were all water. The first wind structure dates from 1180.

Mills - Zaanse Schans main attraction

There are seven mills in the village, which are installed on the banks of the Schans River. Many of them, despite the historical value and status of the attraction, are still used for their intended purpose – here they process wood, grind cocoa and spices, and produce butter.

Good to know! You can visit only one mill for free with a Zaanse Schans card, the cost of visiting others is 4-5 euros.

In the mill De Huisman
De huisman

Open for free access is the first mill construction of De Huisman, in the past it was owned by a merchant from India and used to produce mustard. Millstones are installed inside the attraction, on which grasses and seeds are still grinded, a thematic film is shown to tourists. There is a souvenir shop where they sell fragrant mustard of their own production.

Pigment barrels in De Kat
De kat

The closest building to the village, De Kat, was used in the 16th century to produce paints. Inside, guests are told in detail about the old process of creating flowers and grinding pigments. Today, mill facilities are used to produce coal and oil. This attraction is the most colorful, since the millstones create a vibration that is transmitted to tourists. Here you can climb to the balcony and be close to the blades.

Good to know! A complete list of mills is available on the Zaanse Schans official website.

Klomp Museum

The Netherlands is an advanced country in Europe with a high standard of living, but the famous wooden shoes – klumps – are relevant today, although they are presented more in the form of souvenirs and museum exhibits. In Zaanse Schans there is a small museum dedicated to wooden shoes, the history of which goes back to the distant Middle Ages.

Klomp Museum

Clumps appeared in France, but it was in the Netherlands that gained the most popularity. For a humid climate and marshland, such shoes were indispensable. The shoes were handmade, thought out the pattern and decorations. According to the drawing on the shoes, it was determined in which province the person lives. In special shops you could buy klomps for any occasion in life – for playing soccer, ice-skating, wedding, everyday.

At the Klomps Museum in Zans Schans

Once in Zaanse Schans in the Netherlands, be sure to visit the mini-museum of klomps. Here, workshops are held on the manufacture of wooden sights, everyone can take part and try their hand at shoe production. There is a shop at the museum, a huge number of colorful, colorful shoes are presented here, believe me, it will be very difficult to choose one pair as a souvenir.

Cheese farm
Cheese Farm in Zaanse Schans

In Zaanse Schans, the smell of whey is distinctly felt and not surprising, because there is a cheese factory where you can not only get acquainted in detail with the production process, but also purchase a head of fresh cheese. In the cheese factory you can taste more than 50 varieties of the freshest cheese of different varieties, and you will be offered a specific wine for the selected variety.

It is important! Of course, similar types of cheese are in many stores of Zaandam and Amsterdam and they cost several times cheaper than in the village of Zaanse-Schans. Therefore, think about whether it is worth buying cheese during a trip to the village.

What else to do in Zaanse Schans:

  • ride a boat;
  • visit the chocolate shop;
  • go to the Albert Heijn Museum;
  • peep into the caramel store;
  • visit an antique shop.
This is what the Zaanse Schans map looks like.

To save time during the trip, purchase a Zaanse Schans card, which gives you the right to visit several museums, workshops for free, and in some stores to get a discount on goods.

Card cost:

  • Adult – 15 €;
  • children (from 4 to 17 years old) – 10 €.

You can buy a card in the information center, in the Zaanse Teyd Museum.

On a note! 2 more villages, popular among tourists who came to Amsterdam, are located nearby Edam and Volendam. Find out more about them on this page .

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House of Peter I

The landmark of Zaandam is a small wooden house located near the capital. Peter I lived here at the end of the 17th century. To preserve the structure, a brick case was built around it.

Brick case around the house

The building was built at the beginning of the 17th century and after 65 years the Russian Tsar and 35 other volunteers who accompanied Peter on a trip settled there. At that time, a blacksmith lived with the tsar, with whom the tsar worked at a shipyard in Arkhangelsk. Due to the constant attention to his person, Peter I was forced to leave the Zaandam and move to the capital, however, he came to the city more than once and always stayed in a small wooden house.

House of Peter I

In the mid-18th century, the building received the status of a historical object, a memorial plaque was laid by the emperor Alexander I personally on the fireplace. Later, the king of the Netherlands presented the house to the Russian monarch Alexander III.

Interesting fact! In 2013, the Dutch government presented a full-size model of the Russian building. You can see him at the Moscow Kolomenskoye Museum.

In the house of Peter I

Practical information:

Address: Address: Krimp, 23.

  • from April to October – every day from 10-00 to 17-00;
  • from October to April – every day except Monday – from 10-00 to 17-00.

It is important! Near the attraction there are two parking lots.

Ticket price:

  • adult – 3 €;
  • children (from 4 to 17 years old) – 2 €;
  • Admission is free for children under 4 years old.

You may be interested: if you are going to the south of the Netherlands, visit the city ​​of Eindhoven – the center of modern art and design .

How to get to Zaandam from Amsterdam

The road from Amsterdam will not cause any difficulties. There are several ways to quickly and comfortably get from the Dutch capital to Zaandam.

At Amsterdam Centraal Station
1. By train
  • From Central station – Amsterdam Centraal – trains follow every 5-10 minutes, the route is designed for 10-12 minutes, a ticket to the second class will cost 3 €, and the first – 5 €.
  • Trains depart from Schiphol Airport every 15 minutes, the journey takes 20 minutes, a ticket to the second class costs 4.5 €, the first – about 8 €.
  • From Amsterdam Amstel trains leave every 5 minutes, you will have to travel 25 minutes, tickets to the second and first class cost 3.5 and 6 euros, respectively.

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2. By bus
Bus number 94 in Zaandam

You can reach the bus carrier “Connexxion” number 92 and 94. Flights depart from the bus station, the road is designed for 30 minutes. Tickets cost 4,5 €.

3. By car

The distance between the capital of the Netherlands and Zaandam is only 17 km, it will take you only 25-30 minutes to travel. Moving from the center of Amsterdam, you will need to cross the Hey bridge, leave for the northern region. From Amsterdam you need to get off the A1 highway. Near Zaandam there is a large traffic intersection, following the signs, you need to move to the left and enter Zaandam.

Prices on the page are for May 2018.

The sights of Zaandam will introduce you to the history, culture and traditions of the country. If you have one free day that you want to spend fun and profitably, without hesitation, go to Zaandam, Holland.

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