Zaanse Schans Windmills
The Zaanse Schans is very pretty but can be very busy as tourist buses go there. So I think its important to get there early in the day. You can go on a tour bus of course, but you can also very easily visit by yourself by train. The directions are at the end of this blog post. You don’t need a tour guide at Zaanse Schans as each attraction has people running it and they will explain how everything works. There is a museum and then various shops, like the Bakery Museum, the Cheese Farm, a clog making exhibition that is super.
What is unmissable are the windmills along the river. I went to the sawmill and the oil mill and the paint mill, €5 entry to each windmill or you can get a discount at any of the mills to visit 3 of them. There is something magical about watching the mechanics of the windmill at work and strange the lack of motor sounds. The sawmill called Het Jonge Schaap is really fantastic, if it is turning, make sure you don’t miss it. There is a miller running each mill who will explain the production process to you. Go to a couple of the windmills that are actually turning and give the museums a look in. Do go and see a clog making demonstration, it’s amazing seeing a lump of wood become a shoe. They aslo have a huge selection of reasonably priced souvenirs.
To get there…
From Amsterdam Central Station get the train to Zaanse Schans (3 euros and 17 minutes each way). At Zaanse Schans, walk out of the station following the sign that says Zaanse Schans. Walk straight ahead until you can go no further, in the direction of the river and then turn left and then right until you get to the bridge and turn right over the river, across a big modern bridge. You will see the windmills along the riverside from there and the route is obvious. It’s about 15 minutes walk from the station to the mills. I would aim to get there early, the windmills open at 9am and the museum, most of the shops and the clog place at 10am.
If you want to learn more about windmills from me then join my private or small-group Amsterdam Windmill Tour where we go to windmills in a countryside setting that you can’t easily get to yourself.