The Zaanse Schans is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Holland, and rightfully so. With many old houses, buildings, windmills and much more you enter a village from the 18th Century where you can experience the hustle and bustle of everyday life and the arts, crafts and trades that characterize this part of Holland, and for a part Holland in general. The Zaan area is the oldest industrial area of Western Europe.
Instead of smoking chimneys you’ll find charming wooden houses, bridges and gardens here making this maybe the most beautiful part of Holland. This is not a museum but a thriving community where real people still live in these historical houses, passionate about the past but focused on the future. Experience it for yourself and come and visit us soon!
At the Zaanse Schans you can find 5 working windmills, some of which are open to visit. These windmills perform different tasks, such as sawing wood, milling oil and grinding flour, spices and pigments in the same way they did twohundred years ago. A visit is a spectacular experience with loud noises, the trademark smells of sawdust and oil, and of course the impressive machinery which is still performing its duty. When a windmill is open for visit, you can walk through the interior and take the rickety stairs all the way to the top deck, where you have to be careful not being hit by one of the sails. From this deck, you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Zaan River.
At the Zaanse Schans you can experience life as it was over 200 years ago in the heart of the oldest industrial area of Western Europe. Different trades that we actively practiced at that time in the region can still be experienced here. Skilled craftsmen show you their techniques in woodworking, pottery production, diamondpolishing, cheesemaking and much more. The Zaan area used to be a meltingpot of different trades, and a lot of these trades can be experienced for free scattered around the Zaanse Schans. Together they paint a fascinating story of what is was like to be living in this bustling area in the 18th century.
Besides seeing the history of the Zaan area coming to life while watching the buildings and the various crafts, the Zaanse Schans also features a selection of museums that offer visitors more detailed information and a bigger picture of the development of this area. In the Zaans Museum you’ll see the history of centuries of industrial and food-preparation history of the region. The new Verkade Paviljoen zooms in on one of the most recognizable brands in Holland, the chocolate-and cookieproducer Verkade. There also is a museum about the history of clocks and the role that time plays in our lives, a bakery museum and the museumstore from Albert Heijn, nowadays the largest supermarket chain in Holland but started from humble beginnings, his first store is open for visit daily at the Zaanse Schans.