It’s the image that comes to most people’s minds when they think of the Netherlands: windmills, bicycles and flower fields. When you go on a city trip to Amsterdam, and you would like to see some of these typical postcard sceneries, you would need to get a bit outside of the city. So where to go to see beautiful windmills in Holland?
Zaanse Schans is the best place to go and see some typical Dutch windmills at a day-trip distance from Amsterdam. It’s only a short drive away from the city and it is an area with historical green wooden houses and some of the most beautiful windmills. All the houses are inhabited and the windmills are still in use. Some windmills are used to saw wood, some produce oil, paint or flour. The windmills can be visited for a small fee (about 4 euros for adults and 2 euros for children).
The area, along the river the Zaan is really picturesque and you will definitely see the images you expect to see in Holland!
Some of the historical houses hold shops or tiny museums, like a bakery museum, or a museum shop of the Dutch well-known supermarket Albert Heijn which originated in this area of the Netherlands. At various places you can also learn about old Dutch handicrafts and see for instance how the wooden clogs are made.
Apart from museums, there are also shops that sell cheese, typical mustard from the region, and of course souvenir shops. In case you buy some of the local mustard there, you get a recipe with it for a traditional mustard soup!
At Zaanse Schans, you can rent a bicycle to discover more of the area, or hop on a tour boat to enjoy the view on the windmills and the houses from the water while learning more about the history of the region.
How to get there?
If you are staying in a hotel in central Amsterdam, you can get to Zaanse Schans by boat, but it does take a while (https://www.zaanferry.com/en/). Consider it to be a mini-cruise.
You can also get to Zaanse Schans by bus from Amsterdam, which takes about 40 minutes: https://www.dezaanseschans.nl/en/plan-your-visit/accessibility/.