By far my favourite experience during our stay in Amsterdam was our day trip to Zaanse Schans, a neighbourhood in Zaandam filled with beautiful historic windmills and houses.
Just a short train ride from Amsterdam Centraal Station, we completely fell in love with the scenery. Although it was very busy and coachloads of tourists continued to arrive throughout the day, the whole place felt incredibly tranquil.
As soon as we arrived, we purchased a Zaanse Schans Card which gave us free entry to a selection of museums and the windmill of our choice. We strolled around at a leisurely pace, soaking up the sunshine and learning a little bit about the history of the Netherlands. There’s plenty to see including an old bakery, a cheese factory and a warehouse where clogs are made.
Many of the buildings were relocated to the area using lowboy trailers in the 60s and 70s, but the village feels wonderfully authentic. We made our way inside one of the windmills and climbed the narrow ladders up to the first floor. The view across the water was breathtaking.
After snapping close to a billion photos, we stopped for a simple lunch in a tiny cafe. For all the fancy meals we enjoyed during our stay, the bread and cheese we ate in Zaanse Schans is still one of my favourites.
With lunch finished, we made our way to Zaanse Museum. Compared to some of the smaller attractions elsewhere in the village, it’s very modern and high-tech. The children loved it.
Inside, the Verkade Experience is dedicated to one of the oldest existing family companies in the Netherlands. Famous for their biscuits and chocolate, the interactive displays recreate life in one of their factories during the early 20th Century. You can purchase some of their products in the gift shop too.
We wandered along the waterways before heading home, admiring the wooden houses and their beautiful gardens. The whole place felt kind of magical to me, especially in the sunshine.
I’m so glad we ventured out of the city and would highly recommend you do the same. Here’s a helpful blog post about four of the best day trips from Amsterdam.
Love Audrey xxx