Zaanse Schans: A Windmill Wonderland Near Amsterdam


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.

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