6 Reasons you should go to Zaanse Schans

This totally sounds like a sponsored post, but NOPE. Just a cool place to go for a few hours, especially if you’re feeling a bit sad and want to smile from ear to ear.

1. Are you a tourist? 

Are you entertaining a tourist? Are you new to the Netherlands? Do you like clogs, windmills, tulips and everything quintessentially Dutch? You NEED to go to Zaanse Schans.


2. Are you Dutch? 

You will still love it. Yes, it is a tourists paradise… but that doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy it. Be a tourist in your own country for the day. (The Dutchie actually bought these, with absolutely no prompting from me!)


3. Close proximity to Amsterdam

Zaanse Schans is located in Zaandijk, Zaandam. It’s less than 20 minutes on the train from Amsterdam Centraal. (The closest station is Koog-Zaandijk and from there it’s about a 15 min walk… or you can just take the bus which takes about 40 mins.) The perfect location for a day trip from Amsterdam. You can easily fill half a day, or more if you visit the Zaans Museum.


4. It’s real, sort of…

It looks and feels like an open-air museum, but people actually live here! It’s a working community that dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries. All kinds of buildings, windmills, barns and houses were relocated here from across the Zaan region, piece by piece, since 1961.

It is also home to the first ever Albert Heijn (the Netherlands most famous Dutch grocery store chain) which started business in Zaandam in 1887.


5. D’ Vijf Broers

So technically this isn’t in  Zaanse Schans… but it’s within spitting distance, so it counts in my book! A fantastic bar, restaurant and hotel set alongside the Zaan river. Better than the food outlet offerings within Zaanse Schans itself (a pancake house and a crazy ass expensive place)… so worth crossing the bridge for! It has panoramic views of the Zaanse Schans windmills with a large terrace to enjoy the view on sunny days! See here for my full review.


6. Windmills

There are no less than SIX windmills at Zaanse Schans! Five of which are functioning and open to the public. The other is just for show 😉 There are also two mini-windmills and model windmills within the grounds, so you’ll be spoilt for choice. Read more about the windmills.


If I’ve already persuaded you to go, here’s the Zaanse Schans website for all the practical stuff.

If not, here are a ton more photos.

Hayley x























25 Dutch Dingen

Yup, I know strictly it should be Nederlandse Dingen (Dutch things) … but it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it?

When you’re in Holland, either living here, visiting Dutch friends or on holiday, you are bound to run into things which seem a bit strange or that you don’t have at home. As a bit of Friday fun, I’ve compiled a list of some of these Dutch Dingen! How many can you cross off the list? Let’s play Dutch bingo!!!!!!!!!

1. Bitterballen!

C’mon… you know they had to be #1…

Read more about these little round balls of deep-fried deliciousness in Welkom op Bitterballen Bruid.

Any excuse for bitterballen...

2. Stroopwafels

Stroop = syrup/treacle, I’ll let you guess what wafel is 😉 Two thin layers of baked dough/batter/waffley stuff with a caramel-like syrup filling in the middle. LEKKER! 


3. Clogs

In Dutch = klompen. A wonderful Dutch stereotype…

When in Rome...

4. Bathroom Calendar

Oh yes… Dutch people hang their birthday calendars in the bathroom.

Birthday Calendar

5. Windmills



6. Kaasschaaf

Meaning cheese slicer, the kaasschaaf is actually a Norwegian invention, but since their cheese is the right consistency (not too soft, not too hard) these scary devices are widely used in the Netherlands.


7. Hagelslag

… or sprinkles as we call them in England. Not that weird, on top of your ice cream, but the Dutch eat this on bread, with butter, for breakfast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


 8. Steep stairs

Have you fallen down a steep Dutch staircase yet? (I must confess I have…  at least twice! Damn you, wine! I thought we were friends…)

Steep stairs

9. Wearing head-to-toe orange

Also known as oranjegekte (orange madness) … this strange act happens on King’s Day and at large international sport events.

Oranje spullen

10. Bakplaat

Cook your own food at the table on a bakplaat (lit: bake plate, meaning: hot plate) particularly popular in the holidays. Read more here: Being Dutch – Part 2: Gourmetten


11. Stamppot 

Meaning “mash pot”. Potatoes mashed with vegetables, often served with rookworst (smoked sausage.)


12. Beer served in thimbles

A nice refreshing pint after a long day… think again! Ask for a biertje and you’ll receive a thimble of the amber nectar. Remember the glass your Nan gives you for sherry at Christmas? Yep, that’s it.


13. Smeerkaas sambal

Spread cheese with sambal (a hot sauce made from chilli peppers). If you’re thinking of moving to Holland: make THIS the reason. It’s worth it, I promise.

Smeerkaas sambal

14. Ja/Nee and Nee/Nee stickers

The Dutch solution to junk mail. Ja/Nee = Yes to the free local paper(s) but No, I don’t want leaflets, brochures and other crap.

Nee/Nee = no mail that is not personally addressed to them. Clever, huh?

Ja Nee

15. Slow signs

Supposedly a visual sign to warn you that should slow down and/or that kids are playing. I think they’re little aliens directing the spaceship where to land. (Good cover story, though.)


16. Drop

Dutch people love liquorice. They also think it’s a funny game to try and feed it to unsuspecting foreigners! You have been warned!!

Liquorice choices

© Autopilot / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

17. Wisdom tiles

Tegeltjes wijsheid: An old tradition where wisdom is shared through tiles often with a humorous twist.

Wisdom tiles

18. Cycle paths

We all know that the Dutch love to cycle… and many cycle paths are red, so that people (tourists) are warned to stay off them. But what happens now?!?!?! Arrrrrgggggghhhhhh!

Cycle path

19. Raw Haring

Ok, so herring isn’t that weird. But the Dutch like to eat it raw. Tip your head back, grab the fish by the tail and Bob’s your uncle! 😀


20. Mayonnaise with a side of chips…

Remember the infamous Pulp Fiction quote?

VINCENT: … you know what they put on french fries in Holland instead of ketchup?

JULES: What?

VINCENT: Mayonnaise.

JULES: Goddamn!

VINCENT: I seen ‘em do it man, they fuckin’ drown ‘em in it.


© Takeaway / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

The best of the rest (aka the ones I don’t have a photo for…)

21. White leggings – noooooooo! Just noooooo!

22. Bakfiets – a traditional Dutch tricycle with a large box for transporting cargo e.g. – children!

23. Lack of curtains – ever wondered what your neighbours do in the evening? Take a leisurely stroll down your street and find out!

24. Tiny sinks – with cold water. The Dutch – cheap? Naaaaaaaa.

25. Red trousers – see point 21.

So, how many did you get?

Anything you’d like to add to the list?

Hayley x