Amsterdam’s past is rich and colorful. The city’s history began in the 12th century when fishermen from the Amstel River region constructed a bridge to span the waterway close to the IJ, which at the time was a sizable saltwater inlet. Rising IJ waters frequently flooded the early settlement, but wooden locks under the bridge acted as a dam to protect the village. The Amstel River’s mouth, where the Damrak currently stands, created a natural harbor that was crucial for trade and exchange between larger judgeships and smaller ships that transported goods farther into the hinterland.

The earliest known record of the settlement of “Aemstelredamme” (Amsterdam), or the “dam in the river Amstel,” dates from October 27, 1275 CE. Count Floris V exempted the village’s residents from paying a bridge toll in the County of Holland through this document.


Interesting Facts

  • One of the most significant aspects that contributed to Amsterdam’s economic prowess and global footprint during the Golden Age was its trade background.
  • Its canals, stock exchange building, and privative courtyards are used to demonstrate the city’s great trade history as well as others of its historical importance.
  • Benefitting from its financial solvency and the role of Amsterdam as a center for the Dutch colonial empire, it became among some of the wealthiest cities in the 17th century.
  • The city is famous for its historic landmarks and canals, but it has hidden corners that unveil the details of glorious past and vibrant present life.
  • It is also worth investigating some of the other local tours and activities.


1. Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum, an impressive architectural masterpiece that looms over Museum Square, houses a huge collection of Dutch art and history dating back more than 800 years. This is a temple of masterpieces in the Rijksmuseum where all works from Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh to spectacular objects that reflect national history can be found. The Dutch cultural heritage and the Golden Age of painting, visiting it allows one to get lost in its sacred halls.


2. The Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum

Evidence of van Gogh’s magnanimous influence on world art is reflected in The Van Gogh Museum, which is dedicated completely to outstanding masterpieces created by Vincent Vangoff and presents his works. In the museum, visitors can enjoy a unique opportunity to see many works by Van Gogh–paintings and drawings alongside letters that reveal interesting facts about his life history. The museum offers a close view of Van Gogh’s genius, from the intense colors in Sunflowers to the sorrowful strokes in Starry Night.


3. Anne Frank’s House

Visit the historical building in which Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis during the war years. As you hear the knowledgeable guide narrate Anne’s story, you will get a glimpse into her world from her diary and the preserved rooms. Learn about the tremendous bravery and tenacity that Anne and her family, along with many others, displayed during this period.


4. Jewish Quarter

Take a stroll around the Jewish Quarter, which was formerly the center of a thriving Jewish community. Learn about the terrible events that occurred during World War II, as well as the area’s rich history and cultural significance. Discover the significance of important sites like the Jewish Historical Museum and the Portuguese Synagogue in maintaining Jewish heritage.



Amsterdam is more than just a city; it’s an embodiment of resilience, art, and history living in mosaic. Everything in Amsterdam tells a tale, the fisherman’s village that grew into an international business melting point. It does not matter whether you are visiting Anne Frank’s House, the Jewish Quarter, or other cultural attractions such as Rijksmuseum; Amsterdam is rich in culture and history. Amsterdam welcomes you into its past and current life while showing the tourists her most famous sights.


For many tourists visiting Amsterdam, seeing an iconic windmill is a dream come true. Fortunately, you can find a lot of windmills in and around Amsterdam; the windmill village of Zaanse Schans is the best location to witness them in operation. Visit historical windmills that are still in operation today that go back to the sixteenth century. You can also explore wacky wooden homes, a cheese factory, a coopery, and other antiques that transport you back in time.

You can indeed visit Zaanse Schans without a tour reservation, despite the fact that many tour operators would like to sell you one. Taking public transport or Uber from Amsterdam to the village is a convenient option. During our visit, Daniel and I traveled by train from Amsterdam Central Station, and it went quite smoothly.



A well-liked tourist destination, Zaanse Schans serves as a hub for the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH). In 2014, the neighborhood welcomed about 1.6 million visitors. The Zaandijk Zaanse Schans railway station, which is 18 minutes from Amsterdam Centraal station, serves it. The entire neighborhood is a well-liked tourist destination, and local politicians are debating ways to lessen congestion.


1. Smells Like Chocolate

You will notice that there is a strong chocolate scent in the air as soon as you leave the station. You would eventually come upon a chocolate shop bearing the sign “smells like chocolate” after a short while of walking. Whether you purchase anything or not, there is no harm in indulging in the divine aroma emanating from the glass door. The smell is unsettling to some, but I think it is a really special aspect of the Zaanse Schans neighborhood.


2. A Bridge That Opens

When I first saw it, it was quite surprising to me. First, it seemed reasonably regular. A broad, crowded bridge with a causeway on one end immediately attracted my attention, but something was unusual to the traffic light. Thereafter, I realized that the Bridge’s clearance above water level is not enough to allow large vessels to pass under it. If a ship has to transverse, the middle bridge opens even if nearly at right angles. The bridge goes back to its initial position after being completed.


3. Zaanse Schans Village

Zaanse Schans Village

This village is a cultural and historical village that gives you the feeling of traveling to times past in several ways. The village is composed of private homes, commercial buildings, functioning windmills and even hobby farms. Wherever you go, there will be pathways and bridges in the entire village. Walk at your own convenience around these places. While some of the homes are accessible to the public, other structures are furnished to showcase methods and abilities from bygone eras.


4. Poplar-Made Wooden Shoes

Observing the process of making Dutch clogs, or wooden shoes, is fascinating. The ideal wood is poplar, but the wood is so wet that the artisan could literally blow air into the completed shoe, causing water to shoot out of the wooden shoe in all directions.



A delightful glimpse of Dutch heritage, Zaanse Schans is a confluence of history, culture and picturesque landscape. True Dutchness is depicted in this village with its windmills, wooden houses and smells of chocolate. From the mesmerizing process of making clogs to the ever-moving bridge that handles ships passing by, history can be found everywhere in Zaanse Schans. It is an ideal hideout from the rush of Amsterdam and into a world where we can relive what was left behind. Learning Dutch culture in fun ways.