Zaanse Schans

About Zaanse Schans

Zaanse Schans is a quintessential Dutch postcard brought to life. A visit to Zaanse Schans feels like stepping back in time, as you explore a picturesque village dotted with traditional windmills. These iconic windmills, with their towering sails, are emblematic of Dutch heritage. Visitors to Zaanse Schans can tour the interiors of these well-preserved windmills, offering a glimpse into the milling processes of yesteryears.

Aside from the windmills, Zaanse Schans offers an array of enchanting experiences. A Zaanse Schans boat tour is a delightful way to soak in the surrounding beauty along the Zaan River. The village is also a haven for craftsmen and artisans, with handicraft shops showcasing the intricate skills of Dutch traditional craftsmanship.

A trip to Zaanse Schans is an immersion into the heart of the Netherlands’ cultural and historical essence, offering an authentic experience against the charming backdrop of windmills and craftsmanship. A visit to Zaanse Schans is akin to strolling through a living museum that encapsulates the country’s rich heritage.

History of Zaanse Schans

The history of Zaanse Schans is a captivating journey through time, taking us back to the 18th and 19th centuries. This picturesque neighborhood, situated on the banks of the Zaan River in North Holland, is a living museum where the past has been beautifully preserved. In the 18th century, the Zaan region was a thriving industrial hub with a multitude of windmills, sawmills, and other factories. It was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution. Today, Zaanse Schans offers a glimpse into this remarkable history, with its iconic windmills, historic wooden houses, barns, and workshops.

The neighborhood was established in the 1960s as a way to safeguard and celebrate this unique heritage. Many of the buildings you see today have been transported from other locations in the Zaan region, creating a lovingly reconstructed historical landscape. Zaanse Schans is renowned for its iconic green wooden houses, historic windmills, and artisanal workshops that showcase Dutch craftsmanship and traditions.

What to see

Zaanse Schans is primarily an open-air museum and historic site rather than a traditional museum with collections. However, it boasts a rich collection of well-preserved historical buildings, windmills, and traditional Dutch structures that provide insight into the country’s heritage.

The site includes:

Windmills: Zaanse Schans is famous for its collection of functioning windmills. These windmills include sawmills, oil mills, and more, showcasing the traditional Dutch craftsmanship and industrial techniques.

Houses: The village features historical houses that display the traditional architectural style of the Zaan region, characterized by green wooden structures.

Artisan Workshops: Zaanse Schans offers a range of workshops where visitors can watch craftsmen demonstrate traditional skills such as cheese making, clog crafting, and more.

Museum Zaans Museum: Located within the Zaanse Schans area, the Zaans Museum is a separate museum that exhibits artifacts, paintings, and interactive displays that delve into the history of the Zaan region and its industrial heritage.

Tips for your visit

  • Plan Your Visit: Before visiting check the Zaanse Schan opening hours and special events to ensure it aligns with your itinerary.
  • Arrive Early: To avoid crowds and enjoy the tranquility, try to arrive early in the morning.
  • Zaanse Schans Tickets: Consider purchasing your tickets online in advance to skip the lines at the entrance and save time.
  • Explore the Windmills: Zaanse Schans is renowned for its iconic windmills. Take your time to visit different ones and learn about their unique functions, such as sawmills, oil mills, and more.
  • Handicrafts: Explore the handicraft shops on-site to watch skilled artisans at work and perhaps purchase a unique souvenir.
  • Windmill Sails: For a closer look at the windmill sails, some offer tours where you can climb inside and see the mechanisms.
  • Zaanse Schans Boat Tour: Consider taking a boat tour along the Zaan River. It provides a unique perspective and allows you to see the windmills from the water.
  • Photography: Zaanse Schans is a photographer’s dream. Be sure to capture the picturesque landscapes, windmills, and charming buildings.
  • Pancakes and Local Food: Savor Dutch pancakes and other local delicacies at the on-site restaurants and cafes.


When planning your visit to Zaanse Schans, consider purchasing the Zaanse Schans Card. While admission to the site is free, this card offers an all-inclusive experience to enhance your journey. For €29.50 for adults and €20 for children aged 4 to 17, you can enjoy access to various attractions like the Zaans Museum, the Verkade Chocolate and Biscuit Factory, the World of Windmills, and your choice of two windmills. Additionally, you can explore the Weavers House, Coopery, and Museum Zaanse Tijd. For children aged 0 to 3, admission is free. The Zaanse Schans tickets is your key to a comprehensive and enriching visit to this traditional Dutch village.

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How to arrive

Zaanse Schans is easily accessible from Amsterdam and other major cities in the Netherlands. Here’s how to get there:

By Train: The most convenient way is by taking a train. You can catch a train from Amsterdam Central Station to Zaandijk-Zaanse Schans station. It’s only a 20-minute ride. Once you arrive at Zaandijk-Zaanse Schans, you can easily walk to Zaanse Schans.

By Bus: Alternatively, you can take bus line 391 from Amsterdam Central Station. The bus stop is located next to the Zaans Museum at Zaanse Schans.

By Car: If you prefer to drive, Zaanse Schans is well-connected by road. It’s about a 15-20 minute drive from Amsterdam. Simply take the A8 motorway and follow signs to Zaanse Schans. There’s ample parking available near the site.

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