Zaanse Schans is a fully inhabited, open-air conservation area and museum located just a few miles north of Amsterdam. Here, you can get a vivid impression of the Dutch way of life in the 17th and 18th centuries. The area consist of authentic houses, a historic shipyard, a pewter factory, a cheese and dairy farm, a age-old grocery store, clog-making demonstrations, and above all, lots of windmills.
This post is one of an 10 part entry of our trip to Netherlands and Belgium. See all the places we visited on this trip below:
- Zaanse Schans – Windmills & Cheese
- Volendam & Marken – Seafood & Clogs
- Lisse – Keukenhof & Flowerfields
- Amsterdam – Flowers, Food, Culture
- Amsterdam – Buildings, Places, Waterways
- Amsterdam – Graffiti, Marijuana, Prostitutes
- Brussels – Mussels & Manneken Pis
- Antwerp – Grote Markt & Surrounds
- Brugge – Museums, Chocolates, Lace
- Gent – Korenmarkt, Architecture, Waffles
Some 250 years ago, well over 600 windmills were cramped into this relatively small area. Together they formed the first industrial site in the world. They performed a wide range of industrial duties, such as producing shelves, paint, mustard, oil and paper. Today the mills offer wonderful views, best seen from a boat tour on the Zaan river. You can also visit three of these age-old mills and have a look inside.
De Kat is the only remaining working windmill in the world which makes paint. The original mill ‘De Kat’ was built in 1646 as oil mill. In 1782 the mill was destroyed by fire but the mill was rapidly rebuilt again. The mill was in use until 1904 and then was partially demolished. In 1960 the eight-sided paint mill ‘De Duinjager’ was removed from its former position owing to urban development and placed on top of the old storehouse of ‘De Kat’. The mill is again grinding raw materials such as chalk to make pigments for paints in the traditional way.
Catharina Hoeve is an authentic 17th century cheese farm which does a demonstration on how their cheese is made. Using the necessary equipment and a clear explanation in multiple languages (Dutch, French, English, German, Spanish, Italian or Czech), you experience the art of cheese-making from milk to finished product.