This was my third time in the Netherlands and it was the time to scrap off my Holland themed bucket list a couple of things – seeing the Dutch tulips in bloom (check) and seeing the proper Dutch windmills (check).
I had Amsterdam as my base and some research led me to Zaanse Schans – a small town just a 25 minutes train ride away from Amsterdam’s Central Station. You will get to have a glimpse of what the 18th and 19th centuries were like. The Zaan region was an important industrial era with hundreds of windmills producing linseed oil, paint, mustard, paper and much more.
Traditional wooden houses were relocated now to this area and are preserved as a touristic attraction to offer everyone almost an open-air museum. You can also go inside some of the windmills, there are shops and workshops, as well as a museum dedicated to the region. some of the houses are still used by private residents, so it is also important to be respectful of that whilst visiting this place.
The sun was shining, but I was immediately struck by how windy it was. I quickly realised I was quite silly – of course, it had to be a windy region, otherwise, it wouldn’t make any sense to have windmills there. And, they were all rotating, clearly well preserved through the years.
You don’t have to pay for an entrance to the village itself, however, you would have to pay individually for each windmill and museum you may want to visit. I simply enjoyed the time outdoors, observing the farm animals and some of the wildlife around. And wondering what it was like to be perfectly content living such a simple life, just outside of the lively Amsterdam – or what it used to be like.
This ends up being a perfect place for families to visit, not only solo tourists like myself – having this mind, prepare yourself to see big crowds if you’re visiting on a weekend, like I did, with children running around, and big families taking the space of the sidewalk.
Still, I enjoyed my time here. Do take some food with you – there is only a restaurant that I could see in the village, and there isn’t much choice around it either. I ended up getting myself a salad at a supermarket just outside of the village, but the choice was quite poor, as everyone was doing the same.