The Zaanse Schans is a historic open-air museum located on the banks of the Zaan River in the province of North Holland. We visited the Zaanse Schans in June 2023. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a sunny day, but it was pleasantly warm! At the Zaanse Schans, you have a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience the Dutch history of the 18th and 19th centuries. The museum was opened in 1961 and has since become one of the most visited tourist attractions in the Netherlands. Hopefully you enjoy also your visit to The Zaanse Schans!
- Zaanse Schans Card
- The Famous Windmills
- The Mill Museum
- Zaanse Tijd Museum
- Taking Photos with Wooden Clogs
- What else can you find at the Zaanse Schans?
- The Zaans Museum
- Natural Environment
Visiting the Zaanse Schans
The museum consists of various historic buildings, including mills, houses, and farms, all of which originate from the Zaan region and other parts of the Netherlands. In the museum, you will learn about the industrial revolution in the Netherlands, which began in the 17th century and was characterized by the production of wooden shipyards, paper mills, oil mills, and more.
Visit the Zaanse Schans without a tour
To visit the Zaanse Schans on your own without a tour or guide, you need to take the train from Amsterdam Central Station. From here, take the train towards Uitgeest and get off at Zaandijk – Zaanse Schans. The train ride from Amsterdam Central to the Zaanse Schans takes about 20 minutes. From Zaandijk – Zaanse Schans station, it’s approximately a 20-minute walk (1.4 km). Alternatively, you can choose to take a taxi or rent a bike at the station.
Zaanse Schans Windmills
With the Zaanse Schans Card, you get free access to the De Kat and Het Jonge Schaap windmills. It’s a great opportunity to get up close and personal with these historic structures and experience how they used to work. You also get free access to the Windmill Museum “Wereld van Windmolens.” Here, you can learn everything about the fascinating world of windmills and their role in Dutch history.
But that’s not all! With the Zaanse Schans Card, you can also enjoy free admission to the Zaans Museum and the Verkade Experience. Dive into the history of the Zaan region and discover its rich industrial and cultural heritage. You also get free access to the Weavers’ House and the Cooperage, where you can see how craftsmen used to work. And if that’s not enough, you can also visit the Zaanse Tijd Museum and learn more about clocks and watches from the past.
And let’s not forget about the restaurant! With the Zaanse Schans Card, you get a 10% discount at Restaurant De Kraai when you spend €10 or more. It’s a delightful way to complete your day!
As for the price, the Zaanse Schans Card is normally priced at €53.50 for adults, but with the special offer, you only pay €29.50. Children aged 4 to 17 normally pay €27, but with the offer, it’s only €20. And little ones aged 0 to 3 can join for free!
So make the most of your visit to the Zaanse Schans with the Zaanse Schans Card. Explore the mills, museums, and even enjoy a delicious meal at a discount. It’s the ultimate way to fully experience this historic location!
One of the most striking features of the Zaanse Schans is its windmills, which are still in operation and open for visitors to explore. These windmills are used to produce various products such as paint, snuff tobacco, mustard, and oil. Not only are the windmills beautiful to behold, but they also provide unique insights into the old crafts and technologies used in Dutch history. In total, there are 10 windmills to be found at the Zaanse Schans. Let’s highlight the windmills we visited!
In addition to the windmills, there are also several historical houses to visit at the Zaanse Schans, where visitors can see how people lived and worked during that time. Some of these houses are still inhabited by local residents, giving the museum a lively and authentic feel.
The Paint Mill at the Zaanse Schans
The Verfmolen De Kat is a unique and colorful place where history comes to life! In 1959, the upper part and interior of the paint mill De Duinjager were combined with the lower part of the oil mill De Kat, creating the paint mill De Kat, where the production and sale of antique paint and dyes were revived.
This mill may be the last remaining wind-powered paint mill in the world, bringing together the heritage of no less than 55 paint mills. With names like Pieter Schoen, Storm, Van Bentum and Kluver, Heyme Vis, Kuyper, Pieter Latenstein Pz., Avis, and others, they added color to our past. Here, in the Verfmolen De Kat, color is the product that everything revolves around.
In earlier times, tropical dye woods were imported on a large scale to color clothing fabrics. The heavy dye wood was chopped into shavings and then ground into powder using rolling edge stones. The powders were sifted and packed into bales or barrels for delivery to customers.
Later, earth pigments, chalk, and slip powders were also processed. Wet stones had to dry in warehouses before being used to grind paint powders, for example, in linseed oil. All these colorful processes took place in the Zaan region, along the Zaan River, where windmills of trade and industry thrived.
The wind, though capricious, is the force that keeps our mill turning. The miller, with his knowledge and skills, aligns the 15-ton cap to the wind and regulates the speed of the mill with sails and boards. Together, they create a spectacle of color and motion that you can’t afford to miss.
Step inside the Verfmolen De Kat and be enchanted by its fascinating history and the craft of paint production. Discover the magic of color and admire the unique role this mill plays in preserving our heritage. You can even climb up inside the mill and enjoy a stunning view over the Zaan!
The Wood Sawing Mill
At the Zaanse Schans, you’ll find a remarkable wood sawing mill called Het Jonge Schaap (The Young Sheep). This mill is a masterpiece of wind energy. Not only are the saw blades powered by the wind, but other components, such as the winch that pulls in the logs, are also driven by it. Did you know that soaking the logs in water improves the quality of the wood?
Het Jonge Schaap utilizes a clever crankshaft to convert the rotating sails into an up-and-down sawing motion. In its heyday, there were over 200 wood sawing mills in the Zaan region, sawing up to twenty logs per day. The staff of a sawmill, usually five people, spent long hours at the mill. Het Jonge Schaap is an overhang post mill with distinctive saw frames that can hold up to 12 saw blades. These versatile saw frames could be adjusted to cut beams or straighten planks. Come and discover the impressive craft of wood sawing at Het Jonge Schaap!
The Mill Museum at the Zaanse Schans is a place where the history of Dutch mills comes to life! Step into the fascinating world of mills and discover their role in Dutch trade, the industrial revolution, and agriculture. The museum has an impressive collection of models, tools, and other objects that take you on a journey through the milling industry. But that’s not all! The museum also offers interactive exhibitions and demonstrations where you can see how the mills were operated and experience the entire milling process in action. You’ll be amazed by the power and ingenuity behind these historical structures.
One of the highlights of your visit to the Mill Museum is the opportunity to enter a working mill. Climb the stairs to the top of one of the mills and enjoy a breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape. You’ll feel like a true miller as you see the sails turning and feel the wind blowing through your hair. It’s a unique experience you won’t soon forget!
Here, it feels like time has stood still. You’ll find yourself in a world of windmills, wooden houses, canvas weavers, and even a cooperage. Everything breathes history, yet it’s full of life.
Not far away, by the river, a prosperous merchant lived in one of those wooden houses. You can take a glimpse into the authentic 18th-century interior, where we preserve one of the greatest treasures ever produced in the Zaan region. It’s thanks to the entrepreneurial talent of the Zaan people, who cleverly applied new techniques.
During the Golden Age, sawmills were introduced here, marking the beginning of a flourishing period for the Zaan region. Inexpensive sawn planks were used to build houses, windmills, and ships. Those planks were even shipped to Amsterdam, where they were still being sawn by hand. Quite a task!
But let’s talk about clocks now. A man named Cornelis Volger further expanded the windmill technology he was already familiar with. He started making tower clocks. And after the invention of the pendulum clock, he began manufacturing domestic clocks in the nearby town of Wormerveer. He used simple and affordable clock movements, allowing reasonably skilled workers to assemble the clocks.
And you know what? Those Zaanse clocks performed just as well as the more expensive ones produced in the city. The Zaan region suddenly had a new successful export product: Zaanse clocks! They had been made here for centuries and made the Zaan region world-famous. In our old merchant’s house, you can admire the clocks, from the earliest to the most recent examples. But we’re also proud of our beautiful Amsterdam clocks, with their carillons and animated displays. It’s a true spectacle!
And the best news? With your Zaanse Schans Card, I amsterdam City Card, or Museumkaart, you have free admission! So why not pause the clocks for a moment and take the time to explore our amazing collection? It’s the perfect way to immerse yourself in the rich history and artisanal traditions of the Zaanse Schans.
Step inside Kuiperij Tiemstra, and you’ll instantly feel transported back to the 1960s. Here, it seems like time has stood still since then. The films shown tell the story of Mr. Tiemstra and a day in his life at the cooperage. You get a glimpse into his living and working world.
In addition to providing information about cooperages in general, you’ll also learn more about Mr. Tiemstra himself. It turns out he was a secret poacher and had a passion for boxing, a sport he also practiced. But who was Cooper Tiemstra, actually? Where did he work? And what did he make? The morning begins, and Mr. Tiemstra starts his workday in a routine manner. He puts on his leather apron and walks past various machines. He cleans them, gives them a kick, and rummages around in the apparent chaos of his cooperage. Then he starts working at his workbench.
Interior of the Cooperage
The interior of the building comes from the cooperage and barrel business S.R. Tiemstra en Zonen from Oostzanerwerf. When the last cooper, Jaap Tiemstra, passed away in 1999, the cooperage was left behind completely intact. Here, you can not only see how the cooperage craft is carried out but also feel the spirit of the last cooper still present in the interior.
Kuiperij Tiemstra was founded in 1919 by father Simon Tiemstra. Until 1987, Jaap ran the business together with his brother Simon. Tiemstra’s cooperage was a so-called “wet cooperage,” where barrels for wet goods such as herring and liquids were made. Initially, the Tiemstra’s clients were mainly domestic and foreign distilleries and breweries, but the demand declined from the 1950s onwards.
Step inside Kuiperij Tiemstra and immerse yourself in the world of coopers. Discover the story of Mr. Tiemstra and his passions. It’s like stepping back in time, feeling the spirit of the craft still present in the interior. It’s a unique experience you don’t want to miss!
At the Zaanse Schans, you can create an unforgettable moment by taking a photo with the famous wooden clogs. Put on these traditional Dutch shoes and pose in a picturesque setting with authentic windmills and historic wooden houses in the background. It’s a fun and iconic way to capture your visit to the Zaanse Schans. Whether you want to wear a pair of clogs yourself or simply hold them next to you, this photo will surely bring a smile to your face and create a lasting memory of this beautiful piece of Dutch culture.
- Bakery Museum
- Albert Heijn Museum Shop
- The Weavers’
- House Clog Workshop
- Catharina Hoeve Cheese Farm
Step into the world-famous charm of Holland and discover the Zaans Museum at the Zaanse Schans! Here, you’ll find the Holland of windmills, green wooden houses, famous Dutch brands like Albert Heijn, Honig, and Verkade, and breathtaking views. And you know what? It’s only a 20-minute journey from Amsterdam!
At the Zaans Museum, you can enjoy a free audio tour that takes you on an engaging journey through history. But did you also know that the renowned French painter Claude Monet visited the Zaan region in 1871 and was inspired by it? He created no less than 25 paintings of this beautiful area. At the Zaans Museum, you can admire some of his works, including “The Voorzaan and the Westerhem.” There’s also an interactive presentation showcasing all of his Zaanse works. It’s a unique experience!
The Verkade Experience
And there’s more! In the heart of the Zaans Museum, you’ll find the Verkade Experience, a true adventure for young and old alike. Here, you’ll step into a chocolate and biscuit factory from the early 20th century. The original machines are still running, bringing Verkade’s history to life. It’s a delicious treat for the senses!
At the Zaanse Schans, where the Zaans Museum is located, you can also get acquainted with traditional crafts at the Weavers’ House and the Cooperage. In the Jisperhuisje, you can even experience a 19th-century household and have yourself photographed in traditional Zaanse regional costume. It’s a complete immersion into the history and culture of the region!
Make your visit to the Zaans Museum extra special with the Zaanse Schans Card. With this card, you can explore not only the Zaans Museum but also all the other museums and crafts at the Zaanse Schans. It’s a complete day of fun and discovery! More information and tickets are available at www.zaansmuseum.nl. Let yourself be enchanted by the beauty and diversity of the Zaanse Schans!
In addition to exploring the historical buildings and museums, the Zaanse Schans also offers the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings. The museum is located on the banks of the Zaan River, allowing visitors to enjoy stunning views of the water and the surrounding landscapes. There are several walking routes that visitors can follow to explore the area, including a walk through the nearby nature reserve Kalverpolder.
The Zaanse Schans is a unique and fascinating museum that offers visitors a wonderful opportunity to step back in time and experience the history of the Netherlands. With its beautiful windmills, historical houses, and museums, as well as its stunning natural environment, it’s definitely worth a visit from Amsterdam.