Traditional black, blue and green wooden houses surround a perfectly preserved industrial heritage site in the Amsterdam area. The Zaan region (or ‘Zaanstreek’) is definitely worth your while if you want to taste, feel and experience Dutch culture. We will explain to you all about one of our (tourists) most favorite destinations that you will visit during tours 1, 5, and 7!
First things first: it’s all about the windmills
One of the most iconic landmarks of The Netherlands is probably the windmill. Did you know that there were once over 10,000 fully operational windmills in The Netherlands? In the 17th century, just 600 windmills were built in the Zaan region. Pretty impressive, right? It is therefore, not surprising that this region is often visited by tourists; this unique piece of history attracts one million visitors every year.
But why do people love this village so much, you ask? The invented crank shaft (which converted the horizontal wind on the blades of the windmill into a vertical sawing movement) caused extreme economic growth in The Netherlands during the Golden Era. With still a few operational mills remaining there today, it’ll feel like you are experiencing history all over again.
A glimpse of the village’s characteristics
There are a lot more activities to do and historical and cultural gems to see besides visiting the impressive windmills! Taste the expertise and passion of the cheesemaking in Catharina Hoeve at Zaanse Schans for example; where Henri Willig has been producing the world’s best Gouda cheese since 1974. You can taste and buy the highest quality cheese possible with its unique flavors in a barn that was reconstructed in 1987. They used the original wooden structure for its rebuild, making it a public monument.
You can also visit the ‘clog farm’ and watch a workshop ‘wooden-shoe-making’ and buy wooden shoes for your relatives and grand children at home.
Besides the traditional Dutch activities mentioned, you can also visit the Zaanse Schans museum, restaurants or workshops, which you can find in the village’s characteristic houses. Get a glimpse of what it was like to live in the industrial heart of Holland in the 18th and 19th centuries and let us show you around!