Zaandam traditionally consisted of two villages separated by the river Zaan: Oostzaandam and Westzaandam. In 1811, these two villages were merged by Napoleon into the city of Zaandam. Due to its favorable location, the city was ideally situated for the trade around Amsterdam. Warehouses appeared on the banks of the Zaan that still remind us of the Golden Age. An example of this is the famous Verkade complex.
The special architecture of the city center is based on the world famous 'green houses' from Zaan's timber construction history. The unique town hall was designed by architect Sjoerd Soeters and is a mixture of typical Zaan architecture.
Zaandam has a very modern and cozy city center with many well-known chain stores and small boutiques. Just outside the center you will find the Zuiderhout shopping area with designer stores, outlets and furniture stores. After a day of shopping it is wonderful to relax on one of the cozy terraces in the city center, you can enjoy an extensive dinner.
The Zaanse Schans is world famous, a living and working environment with mills, old crafts and traditional green wooden houses. Here you will also find the Zaans museum.