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April 2016, Zaanse Schans – Netherlands
If you find yourself in Amsterdam and have an extra day to spare, you cannot miss Zaanse Schans, a little slice of the Old Holland!
We were longing for some authenticity, history and that countryside feeling in the Netherlands, so started looking for a village nearby.
Not to mention the permanent question I kept repeating (at least ) in my head: “Where are the WINDMILLS???” Pretty sure it was also out loud a few times. 🙂
Well, Zaanse Schans just had it all: windmills, wooden shoes, cheese and chocolate.
So we’re taking the train from the Amsterdam Central Station and in about 20 minutes we’re already at Zaandijk.
Look for the windmills, cannot miss the place.
On our way we bump into an old Cocoa Factory, and we’re already thrilled.
A few more minutes and the excitement reaches higher notes: traditional wooden Dutch houses, barns, farmsteads with happy sheep playing around, green fields, and just as you follow the river, 6 working windmills are waiting to be discovered.
Awwwhh …we’re climbing to the top like kids. Each one has its own story, almost all of them being brought from different regions of the Netherlands.
You’ll find out more by yourself, but here’s something for your curious spirit: they were used to produce oil, dye or for cutting wood.
The stop at the warehouse where clogs are made, was the highlight of our countryside walk. You can watch how a traditional Dutch shoe is made in about 15 minutes, out of a rough piece of wood.
Couldn’t leave before stopping by the Cheese Factory.
At the end of the day, we’re not leaving empty handed from this little heaven of colours and flavors. A full bag of cheese and tulip bulbs is coming with us to Amsterdam! 🙂
- Price: the entrance to the park is free of charge, but you have to pay separately for the entry to each mill: 3-4 euros/person, or a little extra (2 euros) to climb to the top;
- Time: exploring the whole place could easily take 3-4 hours, especially if you make stops at the souvenir shops and demonstration workshops;
- Advice: the area is quite windy and temperatures lower than in Amsterdam, so make sure you have some extra clothes prepared.
Happy travels and stay safe!