Did you know that the city of Schiedam has the tallest windmills in the world? Moreover, its residents can also raise a glass to living in the gin capital of the world — cheers!
But the best part? It’s just outside of Rotterdam, and can easily be reached by the Metro for an ideal day trip. 🚇
A hidden gem
Nestled in as part of the Rotterdam-The Hague metropolitan area, this city in the Netherlands may not be on everyone’s radar. In fact, Schiedam was just another neighbourhood in Rotterdam until residents broke away from the Metropole to get their own municipality. ✊
Only a 20 minutes trip from Rotterdam, this charming little city has a lot to offer — especially for the gin lovers out there. Even if you’re not a fan of gin, we recommend that you hop on the green, yellow, or red metro line and start off by vising one of Schiedam’s many museums (all of which are within walking distance from each other!).
National Jenever Museum Schiedam
What is there to do in Schiedam? Well, have you heard of jenever? No? Have you heard of gin? Of course, you have! Known as ‘Dutch gin’ or ‘Hollands’ to English speakers and gin connoisseurs, jenever is a traditional liquor from the Netherlands and Belgium.
Schiedam has an organisation dedicated to informing people about the jenever making tradition that has long existed in the country. The National Jenever Museum Schiedam is not your run-of-the-mill museum but has three unique parts: the Jenever Museum, Museum Mill De Walvisch, and Branderij De Gekroonde Brandersketel.
These three locations bring you everything you need to know about the Netherlands’ gin heritage. They specifically tell you about the traditional Dutch Method (yes, it is really called ‘the Dutch Method’), a family recipe that has existed since the 1700s. 🤯
If you’ve just arrived in the Netherlands and have made some Dutch friends, ask them about the gin tradition in the Netherlands. Sometimes evenings will begin with a shot of jenever to get the party spirit started. But remember, you sip the drink. 🥃
Jeneverie ‘t Spul
More opportunities to taste and explore the city’s connection to making gin!
This museum shows you old advertisements, films, and more to let you experience what has made Schiedam special throughout time. It is located right behind Jeneverie ‘t Spul, a popular gin cafe (yes, the place truly is dedicated to good spirits 😉) where you can taste over 400 different types of gin.
Found one you really liked? You can buy a bottle to enjoy anytime you want at the store!
Branderij de Tweelingh
Yet another place to learn more about the gin making tradition in Schiedam — it is the gin capital of the world after all. What’s special about Branderij de Tweelingh though is that they use the original family recipe from 1777!
You will be able to taste and see just how the Egte Schiedamsche Moutwijn ‘NOTARIS’, the liquor produced by the family-run business Herman Jansen, is made. For the real geeks, you can request a guided tour that lasts for 1.5 hours and ends with the tasting of the NOTARIS gin.
Who’s feeling thirsty for some gin right now? 🙋♀️
Not gin related things to do in Schiedam (yes they exist)
Is gin not your thing? Are you into modern or contemporary art? Then these places should be on your list when you visit Schiedam:
Stedelijk Museum Schiedam
This museum has been collecting art since 1945 and has a permanent collection of “informal” and “experimental” art from 1945-1960.
Stedelijke Museum Schiedam is not only dedicated to the art of the past but works together with artists, young creatives, and Schiedam residents to make a museum that “tell stories about themes that matter in the past, but also now.”
Let op! Stedelijk Museum Schiedam is temporarily closed due to renovation but has set up exhibitions throughout the city. Be sure to visit their special location at the Sint Janskerk.
Museummolen de Nieuwe Palmboom
Remember what we said about Schiedam having the tallest windmills in the world? You can learn all about their history at Museummolen de Nieuwe Palmboom and, trust us, there are lots of things to know and learn about the traditional Dutch windmills that can be found everywhere in the city! So get going.
Other noticeable windmills in Schiedam
But wait! There are more windmills for you to look out for. This city has some of the best and largest windmills in the world, so don’t miss them.
- Windmill de Drie Koornbloemen
- Windmill Walvisch
- Windmill de Kameel
- Windmill de Nolet
- Windmill de Noord
- Windmill de Vrijheid
Have you seen all the windmills in Schiedam? Looking for other windmills in the Netherlands? Well, the country has plenty of those, so don’t worry. You have a lot of options! You can go to the windmill parks like Kinderdijk or Zaanse Schans. Or you could go to the one at Delfshaven in Rotterdam and make a day trip out of it! The possibilities are endless!
National Cooperative Museum
Schiedam is an old city, with many buildings and one such building is home to the National Cooperative Museum in Schiedam. Be prepared to feel like you travelled back in time! Enter the museum through their shop that sells sweets made from recipes of “yesteryear”, and move to the carefully reconstructed living room from the 20s. You will also be able to understand how the Cooperative movement in the Netherlands happened, as well. You can get all of this for FREE! Not the sweets, though. 😉
Bibliotheek Schiedam at the Korenbeurs
Schiedam has the first green library in the Netherlands! The Bibliotheek Schiedam at the Korenbeurs opened its doors in 2015 and is right in the centre of the city.
You should visit this library even if you’re not a bookworm! Go there just to marvel at the great architecture and relax in their courtyard. The building has an interesting history where it dates back to 1792. It played an important role in the gin industry, which makes the city of Schiedam what it is today. Trade, art, and culture all went hand-in-hand in this historic national monument.
I for one live in Rotterdam and have gone to the library not to study or work, but to just sit in their marvelous courtyard. But if you’re really looking to focus on work, this is still a library which is easily accessible by all. They have different locations around the city, but I think this is the best one.
Do you love Neo-Gothic architecture? Then be sure to make your way to the Liduina Basilica, the only basilica in South Holland.
It was designed by the architect EJ Margry, and was built between 1878 and 1881. The altar of the Roman Catholic church faces east (towards Jerusalem), but also towards the rising sun.
This church is dedicated to Liduina van Schiedam, the patroness since 1968. As it still has the remains of Saint Liduina, it was given the honorary title of a ‘minor Basilica’ by Pope John Paul II in 1990. She is one of the most well-known saints from the Netherlands and happens to be the only Northern Dutch female saint.
Now that’s a little bit about its history, but what can you find inside? You can find works of art telling you the story of Saint Liduina: a 19th-century Liduina altar, the chasuble (the outermost robe worn by the clergy) with intricate embroidery, 8 painted panels, stained glass windows, and the remains of the saint herself.
If you’re a fan of old buildings and enjoy the architecture of a church from the 14th-century, then head to the Sint Janskerk!
It was built between 1335 and 1500 in place of a smaller church. The tower of the church is 54 metres high and is said to be from the 14th-century. Remember the patroness Saint Liduina? Her grave is in this church, while a statue of her welcomes you at the front.
Well, there you have it, folks! Gin and non-gin related things to do and see on a day trip to Schiedam! Don’t forget to tag @dutchreview on Instagram when you do visit and take those grams — We want to see them!
What are your favourite things to do in Schiedam? Tell us in the comments below!
Feature Image: Emma Brown/Supplied
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in July 2019, and was fully updated in September 2021 for your reading pleasure.