Zaanse Schans day trip from Amsterdam

Zaanse Schans day trip from Amsterdam

The last two or three years I have tried to visit more places in my home country, the Netherlands. Therefore, I went with my boyfriend to the Zaanse Schans last Friday. It’s a shame that we hadn’t visited these beautiful windmills before. I would definitely recommend a Zaanse Schans day trip if you’re looking to explore something of the Netherlands outside of Amsterdam on a (half-)day trip!

The windmills from the hiking trail
The windmills of the Zaanse Schans

A Zaanse schans day trip

How to get to the Zaanse Schans?

The Zaanse Schans is a little over 30 minutes away from Amsterdam Central Station. You can either take the train to Zaandijk Zaanse Schans (a train with end destination Uitgeest) or bus 391 to Zaandam Zaanse Schans. We decided to take the train.  You can plan your journey with 9292. If you don’t want the hassle of figuring out how to get to the Zaanse Schans, you can join one of the various organised tours.

Click here for several organised tours to the Zaanse Schans.

Things to do and see

The Zaanse Schans is famous for its windmills. Although it looks like these mills have stood on this place for centuries, that’s actually not the case. From 1961 to 1974 old buildings from all over the Zaanstreek (an area in North Holland) were transported to this spot. Each windmill has its own story. For example, ‘De Kat’ is the only remaining working windmill in the world which makes paint. ‘De Bonte Hen’, an oil mill, was built in 1693. It was preserved in its original state until 1935. However, in 1975 an extensive restoration project took place.

Windmills and the river 'Zaan'
Windmills and the river ‘Zaan’

You can still visit several of the windmills and discover how they work. You can find several museums at the Zaanse Schans as well. The Zaans Museum is the largest of the museums, just behind the parking.

The windmills from the 'watchtower' next to the parking
The windmills from the ‘watchtower’ next to the parking

Exploring the Zaanse Schans by boat, bike or foot

It’s probably the combination of the fields, the river Zaan and the windmills that makes the Zaanse Schans as charming as it is. You’ll probably want to take loads of pictures. So, take your time, wait till the masses of tourists have passed, and have your camera ready. There are several ways to explore the Zaanse Schans. You can take a boat cruise that takes 45 minutes, hire a bike, or explore the area by foot (as we did).

Tip: just behind the parking there is a watch tower from where you have some nice views of the windmills. Next to the watch tower there is a hiking trail. There were almost no tourists on this trail. The path goes through the fields and ends at the path next to the windmills.

Colourful and typical houses of the Zaanse Schans
Colourful and historic houses of the Zaanse Schans

However, it’s not only windmills that you can discover on your Zaanse Schans day trip. The houses alongside the Zaan are colourful and historic. Therefore, if you have some time left, make sure to visit the village on the other bank of the Zaan. You’ll find some lovely houses there.

How long do you need for the Zaanse Schans?

For a Zaanse Schans day trip from Amsterdam, you don’t necessarily need a full day, unless you plan to combine it with other parts of the countryside. Rather, it is perfect for a half-day trip. You need at least 1.5 hours (excluding getting there and returning to Amsterdam). We stayed roughly 2.5 hours.

Windmills of the Zaanse Schans
Windmills of the Zaanse Schans

Other day trips from Amsterdam

Looking for more day trips from Amsterdam? Other day trips (or half-day trips) from Amsterdam include the Keukenhof, Leiden, De Haar Castle, Utrecht, and Delft.

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Zaanse Schans day trip

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