Zaanse Schans is a famous windmill town near to Amsterdam. Located in Zann district where it used to be populated with numerous industrious windmills. The once-important windmills were made redundant after the introduction of Steam Engine during the industrial revolution. Thank goodness that a windmill society came up with the idea to preserve the heritage of Zann district. The plan includes transportation of several historical windmills and buildings to a newly designated area, which is the current site for Zaanse Schans.
The trains to Zaanse Schans take less than 20 minutes from Amsterdam Central Station. Upon reaching Koog-Zandijk, a friendly Dutch student kindly pointed out to us the direction towards Zaanse Schans. I thanked him and casually asked how he knows we are heading there. His reply was, ‘many Asians come here only to see the windmills, there’s really nothing special about it. Have a good day!’ Hmm……
It’s a short walk from the station to the modern-looking Julianabrug (Julian Bridge). And the windmill town is just right across.
Traditional Dutch town
There are many traditional Dutch houses around the town. Free demonstration sessions of Dutch crafts are conducted in some of these houses. We visited a few of them but did not stay on for the workshops.
It’s so windy that the clouds literally come and go. The sky above us went from gloomy to a bright blue sky then back to all gloom again like a repeated process. Well, at least I got some shots while the sky is blue.
Windmills of Zaanse Schans
Most people will immediately think of windmills when mentioning about Netherlands. Especially since the windmills once empowered the Netherlands’ economic growth with multiple industrial functions. Hence, it’s really not just an Asian thing to be here for the windmills…my dear Dutch friend at the train station.
Moreover, the windmills and River Zann are such a picturesque pairing. How can anyone not like them?
The windmills look gorgeous without its partner too.
Visiting Windmill De Kat
I suppose the visit will not be completed without seeing a working windmill then. So I randomly pick Windmill De Kat. The working mill grinds raw material like chalk by to make pigments for paint and flooring material. It’s really a nice experience too see how a windmill works.
The space inside is rather limited and noisy while the mill is turning. It’s also possible to climb up the narrow stairs to the balcony area for a nice panoramic overview. But descending down the stairs may not be for the faint-hearted.
And the returning dark clouds make it all gloomy once again.
Cheese Farm De Catharina Hoeve
So we move indoor for some free cheese tasting. Anyone who loves cheese will be delighted to see the list of cheeses here! They are also generous in dishing out the cheese samples too. There is the cheese-making demonstration workshop for people who are interested. But we are too busy trying out the samples…LOL.
And yes, we bought some cheese back too.
The cheese farm also sells many other things, amid touristy stuff like chocolates, hand creams, plastic tulips, souvenirs and etc.
Banketbakkerij De Wijn
We bought some cookies from Banketbakkerij De Wijn on the way to Koog-Zandijk station. The cookies turn out to be very nice and we finished all during the short train ride back to Amsterdam. I should have bought more! For those visiting Zaanse Schans, perhaps can give this bakery a try too.