17th & 18th century Holland at Zaanse Schans
Zaanse Schans Travel Blog› entry 16 of 27 › view all entries
Zaanse Schans is a 'village' located near the town of Zaandam, Noord-Holland, situated on the River Zaan. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in The Netherlands. I use the word 'village' in inverted comma's as it is actually an artificial town, designed purely for tourists. It is designed as a fantastic replica of an actual Zaanse town from the 17th and 18th century. The attraction features a collection of well preserved windmills, barns and houses which were sympathetically restored and moved here from local, surrounding towns.
The area is characterised by the lovely, small, traditional, green wooden houses, beautiful gardens with the cutest hump-back bridges. An array of different shops and workshops/museums including the wooden shoe workshop, cheese farm with demonstrations and tasting, the Tinkoepel pewter foundry where I bought a lovely pair of earrings for only 5 euros.
Over the years there has been a thousand or so industrial windmills built along the River Zaan but now only 13 remain and 6 of these are here at Zaanse Schans, along with 2 smaller mills. Some house museums whilst one is now a residential premises, how cool! Imagine living in a molen, I would absolutely love that. If you are interested in visiting the resort please check out the official website first at http://www.
Last but not least there are river cruises available which always makes my day. It's a 45 minute trip which at 6 euros I thought was pretty reasonable until we embarked on the tour and discovered the tour guide only spoke in Dutch, which I thought was quite strange as I had heard every other language but Dutch from the many tourists here today so Jaap had to translate most of it for me but it was still an enjoyable experience to relax on the water and obtain some great photos.
Ok so this may not be high-brow enough for certain travbuddies who prefer to always wander off the beaten track and stay away from typically touristy locations! - as do I usually but it really is a nice place to visit, I had stumbled across it on the net and also had it mentioned to me by fellow TB Dr Seuss (Thanks Ian!) and decided it would be a fun day out. Just be prepared to spend more money than you intend - it advertises itself as free entry but then almost every single attraction within is to be paid for separately. Car parking costs 7 euros for the day. The only other main downside I can think of was the disgustingly filthy public toilets, I won't go into detail but the putrid smell and overflowing bins were not pleasant, if I'm paying 50 cents each time I want to take a leak I expect them to be clean!