The Zaanse Schans windmills: A charming day trip from Amsterdam

Clogs, tulips, cheese and windmills are the quintessential symbols of the Netherlands, and there’s an adorable spot where you can see them all: the Zaanse Schans village, just one hour from Amsterdam.

Zaanse Schaans windmills in the Netherlands

The heavenly smells of chocolate and fresh-baked waffles waft over you as you pass through the entrance to the Zaanse Schans windmills, and the village is like a living museum.

Dozens of traditional homes along with real working windmills have been brought to the community over the past century, luring nearly one million visitors to the area every single year.

Day trip to the Zaanse Schaans windmills in the Netherlands

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Zaanse Schans windmills tour

The colourful, spinning windmills at Zaanse Schans are the biggest draw, and while most are there for show there’s one that’s still in use today: De Kat, which produces the pigment and dye used in paint.

Another popular one is De Gekroonde Poelenburg, which is literally a standout thanks to its lime-green facade. Some of the windmills are open to visitors for a small admission fee, which includes the chance to walk up to a viewing platform to look out over the bright-blue lake.

Zaanse Schans, Netherlands. windmill

Zaanse Schans, Netherlands.

Day trip to the Zaanse Schaans windmills in the Netherlands

Visit Zaanse Schans

After exploring the windmills, guests cross over a cute little bridge towards the bleating sheep lounging in the green fields. Chickens roam the pathways, ready to pounce on any food a child might inadvertently drop.

Day trip to the Zaanse Schaans windmills in the Netherlands

There are a number of historical buildings to explore as you tour Zaanse Schans, including:

-A chocolate shop, offering demonstrations about the chocolate-making process and the opportunity to make hot cocoa from scratch


-A clog museum detailing the history of those famous wooden shoes—and yes, there’s a gift shop where visitors can buy a pair to bring home.


So many clogs!

-A bakery, and a cheese store with samples of the different blends of delicious gouda.

Day trip to the Zaanse Schaans windmills in the Netherlands
Once visitors get their fill of all the culinary delights, they can walk it off with a jaunt through the trails that wind through the marsh surrounding the windmills. In true Dutch fashion, bike rentals are also available.

A Zaanse Schans day trip

Visiting the windmills in Zaanse Schans can take as little as a couple of hours, done as a day trip like this one from Amsterdam which also visits some surrounding areas, or stretched out over a couple of days depending on how much you choose to explore. Click to book

There’s a quaint bed and breakfast called Heerlijck Slaapen op de Zaanse Schans which is right in the village (book early, it sells out well in advance!), as well some higher-end restaurants that boast patios perfect for taking in the views. Click to book

Electric boat rides are also available, which cross the water toward the historic homes overlooking the lake. Click to book

Day trip to the Zaanse Schaans windmills in the Netherlands

Day trip to the Zaanse Schaans windmills in the Netherlands

Zaanse Schans, Netherlands. bed and breakfast

Overall, Zaanse Schans is a charming little place that beautifully sums up Holland’s history, and a fun way to see the best windmills near Amsterdam.

Day trip to the Zaanse Schaans windmills in the Netherlands

Day trip to the Zaanse Schaans windmills in the Netherlands

Tips for visiting Zaanse Schans windmill village

Zaanse Schaans tickets: Entrance is free to get into Zaanse Schans. However, there’s a charge to get into some of the museums, which can be offset by buying a Zaanse Schans card at the information centre.

How to get to Zaanse Schaans from Amsterdam by bus: It’s about a half hour drive by car from Amsterdam, or 40 minutes each way by bus from Amsterdam’s Central Station. #391 comes every 15 minutes, and tickets can be purchased from one of the kiosks or onboard from the driver with a debit or credit card.

You can also pre-order an e-ticket here. During July and August, express line 891 goes directly from Amsterdam Central Station to Zaanse Schans and only takes 20 minutes.

Don’t miss: There’s a high viewing platform just behind the parking lot at the main entrance, which visitors can climb up for a birds-eye view of the windmills and pathways surrounding Zaanse Schans.

Day trip to the Zaanse Schaans windmills in the Netherlands

Book a Zaanse Schans tour







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6 Responses

  1. Sandra says:

    This post sums up the image I have of Holland: windmills, clogs and cheese (and chocolate is welcome too). Perfect! 🙂

    • Totally perfect!!! Amsterdam is one of my favourite cities, but it’s definitely worth making the quick trip out to Zaanse Schans to get a look at the more traditional Dutch culture.

  1. March 24, 2015

    […] The Zaanse Schans windmills: A perfect day trip from Amsterdam […]

  2. September 11, 2017

    […] my travel companions could. Sure there were some bright spots, like the adorbs day trip I took to Zaanse Schans, spotting monkeys near the Panama Canal, and sampling Framboise and mussels in Brussels. But would […]

  3. May 29, 2018

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