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Zaanse Schans

Experience the proto-Dutch feel within the Zaanse Schans, with its mills, old handicrafts and beautiful green wooden houses.


Zaanse Schans comprises a variety of museums that are open to the public. When you study the paintings at the Zaans Museum it is likely that you will recognise some of the details, having seen them outside the museum as well. Here you will also find the Verkade Pavillion - it is like you are in an old Verkade chocolate/cookie factory, being surrounded by the noise of machines, a gigantic mass of melted 'chocolate' and a giant oven. At the Museum van het Nederlands Uurwerk (MNU) you will learn everything there is to learn about the history of Dutch timepieces. There is also the Albert Heijn museum store with a grocery store that has the original interior; Albert Heijn is one of the oldest grocery stores, now supermarket chain, dating back to 1887.


Zaanse Schans has more to offer. Some of the shops have a wide array of articles, varying from textile, cheese, clogs, food items prepared according to traditional methods, souvenirs, antiques and curiosity, wooden toys, paints and oils.

The Zaanse schans craftsmen still have traditional professions, including pewter casting and cheesemaking. It is quite entertaining to actually witness what people used to create with their hands, particularly in this setting of wooden houses, barns and mills from olden times. Time to take a break? You can in one of the catering facilities.

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The cunning application of the crank shaft revolutionised the development of industrial windmills in the Netherlands.

Cornelis Corneliszoon of Uitgeest, an inventor at the beginning of the Golden Age the principle applied for the first time with a sawmill in 1594. Sawing up tree-trunks by hand was history from that moment on. With an abundance of wind and water and the close proximity of Amsterdam's important, global, commercial center the stage was set for the Zaan region to become one of the first industrial areas within Western Europe.

Of the thousand industrial windmills ever built along the banks of the river Zaan thirteen remain. Six can be found at the Zaanse Schans. They are:

Specerijenmolen (spice mill) De Huisman >
Houtzaagmolen (sawmill) De Gekroonde Poelenburg >
Verfmolen (paint mill) De Kat >
Oliemolen (oil mill) De Zoeker >
Oliemolen (oil mill) De Bonte Hen >
Houtzaagmolen (sawmill) Het Jonge Schaap >