Things to do in Zaanse Schans: All you need to know
Looking for things to do in Zaanse Schans? There’s plenty here! Zaanse Schans in an area where you can experience what life was like back in the 18th and 19th century, full of life, full of windmills and full of shops. We all know you’ve come for the windmills though. 😉
If you go to Zaanse Schans you will be greeted by 11 different windmills, people’s beautiful little Dutch houses (yup, people still live there) and lots of little local shops such as a bakery, cafes, a cheese factory, souvenir shops and a clog warehouse. There’s a lot to do and see there and that causes the tourists to flock there (so, yeah, be aware – it’s busy).
What can I do at Zaanse Schans?
I’ve briefly spoken about what kinds of things are at Zaanse Schans, but I’ll go into more detail now. Or just go straight there and get yourself a tour:
The windmills at Zaanse Schans
There are 11 different windmills that you can explore at Zaanse Schans. Here’s a brief outline of what they all are:
- De Huisman – A spice warehouse where you can taste different spices
- De Gekroonde Poelenburg – A centuries-old wood saw mill
- De Kat – A paint mill where you can watch demonstrations
- De Zoeker – A oil, paint and cocoa mill
- Het Jonge Schaap – A wood saw mill replica
- De Bonte Hen – An oil mill, which has been running since 1693!
- De Os – A windmill that transformed into a diesel-powered milled throughout history
- Het Klaverblad – A small workshop mill
- De Bleeke Dood – The oldest smock mill in the Netherlands and was an old flour mill
- De Ooievaar – An old oil mill that was moved to the Zaan area
- Mini-mills on the Schans – Miniature windmills that were used to pump water from the polder
Your Instagram is going to love you!
The museums at Zaanse Schans
When you first arrive in Zaanse Schans you’ll notice a large museum at the entrance, this is the “Zaans Museum.” This museum basically outlines the history of the area, the windmills and trade. This is a very interactive and modern museum, meaning that you will get to truly enjoy learning about the area and then you can go and see it for yourselves. Here you will learn a lot about the trade in the area and you can even operate the chocolate machine in the museum.
The Zaanse Time Museum
This museum houses many different Dutch timepieces and the clocks you’ll be able to hear chiming on the house every hour there. Here you will learn about Dutch clockwork history from the 16th century. There are plenty of different things to see there, along with their scientific and design history.
The Albert Heijn Museum Shop
It’s hard to believe, but Albert Heijn only started out as a small shop. Albert Heijn took over the shops from his parents in 1887, when he was just 21. It was nothing like it is today. In this museum, you can see for yourself the original shop and stock that was around at the time. It’s really interesting to see how supermarket shops have evolved from that time.
This old fisherman’s cottage in the village of Jisp is as it would have been back in the 1850s. Here you can explore this cute little cottage and even dress up in traditional local costume and have your photo taken – selfies at the ready!
Bakery Museum de Gecroonde Duyvekater
This original bakery is still in use today! It’s been around since 1658 (yep, wow!) and here you can buy tradition Dutch baked goods. You can taste Duivekater, a famous sweet bread from Zaanse and other original and more modern baked goods. If you want an excuse to chow down on some even more delicious Dutch snacks, then here’s your chance. 😉
Here are a few ways on how to visit the Zaanse Schans:
Cycling at Zaanse Schans
Cycling at Zaanse Schans is possible (we’re in the Netherlands after all), so it’s good news if you’re wanting to take your Dutch bike for a spin. No bike? No worries! You can even rent bicycles at Zaanse Schans if you’re bike-less.
There are both bike tours and different cycling routes you can take throughout Zaanse Schans, so it’s the perfect place to go if it’s a sunny day. In the height of summer, it gets really busy along parts of these routes though, so be aware of that before you go.
Going for a walk at Zaanse Schans
Just looking for somewhere nice go for a walk? Well, this is the perfect place! Walking around and exploring most of the windmill area is completely free, so it’s the perfect place to go for a stroll and get those all-important insta-worthy shots. There are plenty of walking routes too, so there’s plenty to see.
There are also theatrical walks if you’re looking for something a bit different. A guide in Zaan costume will show you around her area, where you will learn about her and the area. It’s also available in English if your Dutch isn’t up to scratch.
Need some other Dutch excursions? 😉
Other things to do at Zaanse Schans
There are more things to do!? Yup. There are plenty of Dutch shops and handicrafts, gift shops, Dutch delicacies and you can even take a boat trip from there. In short, there’s plenty to do.
I liked Zaanse Schans when I went, but I live close to Kinderdijk and that’s my favourite, mainly because Zaanse Schans is really touristy and lots of it is clearly set up for tourists. Read here the comparison between the two. Zaanse Schans is great to go to though and there is certainly lots to do there, so if you’re looking for something to do, this is your place!
Have you ever been to Zaanse Schans? Let us know in the comments!