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A visit to a unique part of the Netherlands, The windmills of the Zaanse Schans

Planning for a short day trip from Amsterdam? Here is the travel guide blog for everything you need to know for visiting the Dutch village town Zaanse Schans.

For generations, Zaanse Schans has been a tourist mecca, welcoming tons of visitors from all over the world. It is a Dutch village town filled with sprawling green fields, fanciful windmills, and full of traditional handicrafts and culture. It is set up like an open-air museum and visitors can experience life as it was lived by Dutch people in the 18th and 19th centuries.

There’s a reason when you think of the Netherlands, you think of windmills! The real draw of Zaanse Schans is the historical windmills. Zaanse Schans is a village with authentic wooden houses, windmills, a wooden shoe workshop, a cheese factory, and more crafts that give an accurate impression of life in the Netherlands in the 18th and 19th centuries. The windmills of Zaanse Schans are a beautiful tourist attraction in the Netherlands and can easily be visited on a day trip from Amsterdam.

As soon as you enter the windmills village Amsterdam site, you will be welcomed by gorgeous greenery all around, including greenhouses and vintage windmills along the river. There used to be many more along the river, but now only 13 windmills are scattered all across the complex.

Of the 13 existing windmills, only 6 are in working condition, which are a mustard mill, two sawmills, two oil mills, and the world’s last working dye mill, still operating in their full glory. They are vintage and historical, and completely functional to this day.

All these historical windmills are providing a great insight into what life must have been like back in the 17-18th century. Some have turned into shops, others have decks that can be climbed up to see the city from above.

There is a boat rental service available where you can even rent the boat that crosses the Zaan river to admire the windmills from the water for only €1.

The windmills are technically open every day and operating at all hours, but check their schedule for a visit, especially if there is a specific mill you’d like to visit.

Zaanse Schans Travel Tips: All windmills have separate admission tickets and each cost €3 to visit. But if you are interested in visiting all of them, I highly recommend you purchase a Zaanse Schans card for €10. A visit to at least one of the windmills is not to be missed when visiting Zaanse Schans.

Things to do:

  • Visit a working windmill

  • Eat pancakes in the pancake restaurant

  • Shop in the oldest Albert Hein in the Netherlands

  • Go cheese tasting at the cheese farm

  • Visit the Zaans museum

Different attractions on the Zaanse Schans have different opening times, most sights are open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. But beware: some are not open every day, so it is best to consult the Zaanse Schans website for current opening times.

How to get to the Zaanse Schans

Zaanse Schans Windmills village is located in the Zaandam area of the Netherlands Europe. Distance is 16.5 kilometers one way. There are tours for a day trip to Zaanse Schans from Amsterdam every day. But it is also possible to visit Zaanse Schans from Amsterdam on your own by public transport.

Getting to Zaanse Schans from Amsterdam:

By Bus: Take the bus (391) departing from Amsterdam Central Station, which leaves twice hourly from Platform E to Zandaam/Zaanse Schans. The entire ride takes less than an hour and tickets can be purchased for €7 round trip.

By Train: From Amsterdam Centraal Station, takes a train to Koog-Zaandijk which takes only 17 minutes. Next, follow the direction board and walk for about 15 minutes to Zaanse Schans. Anyway, it is just a straight path, easy!

We highly recommended taking the bus to Zaanse Schans as it is the most convenient option and the bus stop is right outside of Zaanse Schans.

Travel tips

We recommended downloading the “Zaanse Schans” App” to enhance your experience in Zaanshe Schans. The app will become your digital tour guide, offering an interactive tour and sharing with you some hidden gems of the area.

How much time do you need in Zaanse Schans? You don’t need a full-day trip to Zaanse Schans, instead, a few hours should suffice. Personally, I would suggest planning for a half-day at Zaanse Schans with about 3 to 4 hours sufficient to explore the area.

Is Zaanse Schans free?There are no entry fees for Zaanse Schans, which only gives access to the Zaans Museum.

What is the operating hour for Zaanse Schans? Zaanse Schans is open every day from 9:00 to 17:00. However, not every portion of the museum is open every day, and each has a separate schedule for demonstrations and tours.

My favorite thing to do in Zaanse Schans. We spent hours just strolling around and admiring the Dutch scenery, busy photographing whatever stood out to us. From the entrance to the east bank of Zaan’s River, typical green wooden houses lined up and showcased the traditional architecture of the area. There is a farm opposite the windmills, we were thrilled to see cows pasturing freely in the area. Additionally, there’s also a distillery museum, soap factory, and weaver’s house, if you want to wander around in Zaanse Schans.

Hotels at Zaanse Schans

Wake up with a view of windmills by the water. The accommodations in the area are wonderful with the stacked cottage hotel Inntel as the highlight!

Heerlijck Slaapen hotel

This hotel you have to book early as it's almost always full. It's a basic hotel but you really got the feeling of the village. The best thing is that you wake up in the village and you can sit at the riverfront watching the boats and windmill village from your own garden. Rooms are around 120 Eur a night with breakfast. Book Now

Inntel Hotel Zaandam

This visually 4-star hotel has an impressive façade. The structure is a lively stacking of various traditional houses to be found in the Zaan region. The interiors of the modern hotel rooms also reflect the rich history of the Zaan area: the traditional products, the pioneers of the local craft industries, and the families which made the area world famous. In short, it provides the best of tradition combined with modern-day comfort.

The hotel is not only the ideal place to stay when discovering the Zaan area but as well for a trip to Amsterdam. The train journey will take 12 minutes to Amsterdam Central Station, and you can travel to Schiphol airport in only 18 minutes. Rooms are around 80 Eur a night Book Now

Where To Stay In Amsterdam

Regardless of the season, we think the best place to stay in Amsterdam is in or close to the city center. Amsterdam accommodations tend to be on the pricey side year-round, so you will need to consider your budget when searching for a place to stay.

Hotel Notting Hill

a 4-star boutique design hotel, in which you will feel right at home. This stylish luxury hotel is the key address for cosmopolitan and international travelers. Boutique Hotel Notting Hill Amsterdam offers attractive accommodation close to AH Stadhouderskade Supermarket. Van Gogh Museum is a few minutes from the venue, while Museum Square is 1.7 km away.

The hotel is set in a shopping area of Amsterdam. The night Air Club is also 1.3 km away from this property. De Duif Church is also located near the venue. Rooms are around 100 Eur a night Book Now

Eden Hotel Amsterdam

Amstel river views and rooms are so beautiful you might never want to leave. Staying at the 2021 renovated 4-star superior Eden Hotel Amsterdam is a feel-good guarantee. In the direct neighborhood of the hotel, you will find all the highlights you came to visit Amsterdam for. Although with the excellent variety in restaurants, a 24/7 food market, and an actual Tokyo-style listen-to bar, you would not even have to leave the hotel to experience the buzzing city life of Amsterdam. Rooms are around 100 Eur a night Book Now

NH Collection Amsterdam Flower Market

Formerly known as NH Carlton Amsterdam, is right in the city center, next to its namesake, the flower market, and the Munt Tower. The hotel is also within walking distance of all major attractions – including Rembrandt Square and nearby shopping areas.

  • views across the city

  • short walk to the Museum Quarter

  • 15-minute tram to Centraal Station

The 233 rooms are a true reflection of the city of Amsterdam; industrial, cosmopolitan and diverse. Family rooms are available for those exploring the city with kids, and the rooms on the top 3 floors are the perfect spot to look out across the Munt Square and the Munt Tower. Others are designed especially for business with a sitting area and desk. Rooms around 150 Eur a night

Hotel CC

Hotel CC Amsterdam is a canal-side boutique hotel situated in the heart of the City Center at a stone’s throw distance from the central station and Red-Light District. Major tourist attractions; the Dam Square-the Royal Palace, Anne Frank House, Madame Tussauds, Flower Market, and Shopping District Nieuwendijk-Kalverstraat are within a short walk distance. Furthermore, in the surroundings, there are a variety of restaurants, cafes, bars, and coffee shops.

Built-in a picturesque historical and monumental Amsterdam canal house, Hotel CC features modern rooms with air conditioning. Many rooms and hotel areas still feature its historical characteristics such as wooden beams or old windows. All rooms are en-suite and furnished with modern room amenities. Some rooms offer canal views. Rooms are around 120 Eur a night

Mai Amsterdam

Centrally located in one of the most vibrant and storytelling neighborhoods of the city, surrounded by canals and with many must-see sights around the corner, MAI Amsterdam is the ideal home base for fortune travelers.

The boutique hotel features a dreamy combination of Asian-influenced mid-century furniture and eclectic interior design, that serves as a homage to the cultural history of the property. The harmonious composed décor is adorned with artistic masterpieces, handsomely appointed rooms, breathtaking canal views (every local would love to wake up to), and other extraordinary eye-catchers, assuring a one-of-a-kind hotel experience.

An original destination for crafting memories, right in the heart of Amsterdam.

Rooms are around 120 Eur a night, Book Now

Travel Tips

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  • Use Trivago to find the best prices for your hotels Trivago is a world-leading metasearch platform allowing users to compare accommodation prices from the best service suppliers. Travelers can find the best offers for hotels, apartments, houses, and even luxury villas.

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  • Find Cheap rental cars with Discover Cars, somehow they always find the best deals for you. Many other websites hide fees and extra costs from you. Discover Cars includes all mandatory fees, taxes, and extras in the quoted price so there won't be any surprises when you arrive at the rental desk.

  • Use VisitorsCoverage to find the best Travel Insurance worldwide suitable for all types of travelers, including digital nomads, couples, and families regardless of budget VisitorsCoverage is one of the largest online travel insurance platforms offered in 175+ countries (with their primary market being United States). This insurance company was one of the first to offer travel insurance to travelers worldwide in 2006. Now, they offer several customizable plans, from classic insurance to cover medical expenses to extended insurance to cover flight delays, missing baggage, and other emergencies.


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