Zaanse Schans Open Air Museum @ Amsterdam
Zaanse Schans could probably ranked as the second most visited tourist spot in the Netherlands after the infamous Keukenhof garden.
Featuring the traditional Zaanse Village of 17th -18th century, Zaanse Schans has so much to offer, from canals to windmills; from cheese to Dutch wooden clogs. It is indeed a 'little Holland' which serves as an ideal open air museum to those who would like to experience this unique country.
The Traditional Dutch Village
Check out the picturesque Dutch village. The windmills, wooden bridge, canals and the characteristic green wooden houses with red-and-white windows that truly resembles a typical Dutch village in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Another great attraction of Zaanse Schans are the windmills which are still in operation till today. With an admission of €3, you may visit an operating windmill and witness the gears and levers in action propel by just mother nature.
The invisible power of wind couple with the ingeniously designed gears enabled this great machine to grind pigments into paint, saw wood into planks and even pounding nuts and seed to produce oil.
The First Grocery Store
The very first grocer store in Oostzaan , Abert Heijn (also refer as 'AH' in short by the locals) is also featured in Zaanse Schans. The interior reflected the actual period look of a typical sundry shops back in the 18th century.
Wooden Clogs Workshop
Wooden clogs are the unmistakeably Dutch icon. This traditional footwear has been popular in the Netherlands for over 700 years. Curious on how it is made? There are live clog making demonstrations taking place in the Wooden Shoe Workshop here on daily basis for free. The sessions take approximately 5 minutes and are available in many different languages.
During the good old days, clog crafting takes more than 2 days. But with advance machinery, a single clog can be made in a mind boggling 5 minutes.
As a key exporter of dairies products, the Netherlands is well-known for it cheeses. In the cheese farm here, different types of Dutch cheese are made here daily. Check out how cheese is made here as there are cheese making demonstration conducted throughout the day. One may even sample the different type of cheeses produce here. In conjunction with the coronation of new King, the limited edition carrot flavor cheese was on sale.
With an mere €2, you can enter into the workshop and witness how the traditional barrels are made.
Getting to Zaanse Schans by train
From Amsterdam Centraal station, take the train heading to Alkmaar or Uitgeest. The journey takes about 20 minutes and get off at Koog Zaandijk station. Zaanse Schans can be reached by foot in 10 minutes. Just follow the sign boards. You may see the town after crossing the Juliana bridge.