Zaanse Schans located in the town of Zaandam, is the perfect day trip from Amsterdam. During our two-year stay in Netherlands, we have made several trips to Zaanse Schans to show our friends and family this beautiful and picturesque neighborhood just so that they get a taste of the traditional Dutch country life and culture. Visiting Zaanse Schans is definitely a very touristy thing to do while in Amsterdam, but nevertheless we still think it’s worth seeing at-least once. If you are in Netherlands and have very little time in hand and want to get a feel of all things Dutch, then this site is perfect. It is possible to enjoy the Dutch experiences without shelling out much money. In this post, we will help you plan a day at Zaanse Schans and enjoy the perfect day trip from Amsterdam in the most economical way. We share with you the ” Free things to do in Zaanse Schans” and also tell you how to have the most enriching experience during your visit.
How to get to the Zaanse Schans ?
Getting to Zaanse Schans is pretty easy and straightforward. There are several options namely-car, train, bus and boat. Considering the travel time, we don’t recommend the last two options. Its highly advisable you take the car or train.
>Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans by Train
Take the train from Amsterdam Central station to if you are based in Amsterdam you can catch an 18-minute train toKoog-Zaandijk station. The journey is only about 18 minutes and cost €3.10 each way. Upon reaching Zaandijk, you will find a huge direction board to guide you to the Zaanse Schans site. The walk through the village is about ten minutes and is very scenic.
>Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans by Car
Another option you can consider if you prefer to drive down to the site. The parking space is big and the fee is €10 irrespective of the number of parking hours. We were lucky to get parking there during all our visits except the last time. We had major issues finding a parking spot since the space was full. After a lot of scouting, we found a spot few kilometers away. It was a very tedious process. Definitely avoid taking the car if you are going during busy season (especially during Tulip festival in Keukenhof)
When is the best time to visit Zaanse Schans?
Like I said above, try to avoid the crowded season (April-May) when it is the Keukenhof season. A lot of tourists combine both these places making it super crowded. To know more about Keukenhof read our post HERE .We suggest you plan your trip to Zaanse Schans once the temperature gets cooler- September onwards.
What are the free things to do in Zaanse Schans?
There are several things to do in Zaanse Schans and the best part is that most of them are free.
>Visit the Grocery Museum Albert Heijn
Make sure you visit the popular Dutch Supermarket chain Albert Heijn. What makes this tiny store special is that it is the first shop of Albert Heijn, which later on gained popularity and turned into a large supermarket empire. The store is very cute from the outside and houses several Dutch products for sale.
>Catharina Hoeve (Cheese farm)
If you are a cheese lover then this place is heaven. The Cheese farm offers free cheese making demonstrations all through the day and houses hundreds of different varieties of cheese, mustard and other delicacies. You will find cheese spreads, dips and a lot more treats to satiate your cravings. One cheese we always buy when we visit this cheese farm is Baby Gouda. Do try the testing trays to see if you enjoy it as much as we do. Another highlight of Catharina Hoeve is that the staff is dressed in traditional costumes. It’s definitely attractive especially for small kids. The staff are very friendly and always ready to pose for photographs too.
>Klompenmakerij De Zaanse Schans (Wooden shoe workshop)
Definitely worth checking out as its a powerhouse of information. In this museum you can learn about clogs (Dutch footwear). What caught my eye was the free clog making demonstration, which happens frequently at this site. You can also read up on a lot of information there which talks about clogs, why they were used in the olden days, types of clogs used on special occasions etc. You will be surprised to see the variety of clogs displayed on the glass shelves. They also have a lot of clogs in different sizes so you can always gift yourself a pair if you wish for keepsake. The clogs are hard, colorful, come in beautiful designs and are also certified by the European Union as a safety shoe because they can withstand sharp and heavy objects as well as concentrated acids.
>Visit the Windmills
There are several windmills that you can visit namely- Saw Mills, Paint Mills, Spice Mills, Oil Mills, Mustard Mills, Dye Mills etc. Entry to these windmills are not free and you are required to pay a small entrance fee to enter inside. In our opinion, we would ask you to skip these and visit the Kinderdijk Windmills . They are more authentic and classic when compared to the windmills at Zaanse Schans.
>Bakery Museum In De Gecroonde Duijvekater
An old house that later on got converted into a baker’s shop. This museum is worth visiting for its beautiful interiors and the aroma of the bakery goods are very inviting too. You can pick up some sweet treats as souvenirs from this bake house if you wish.
>Tinnegieterij De Tinkoepel (A tin pewter foundry )
>Craft Centre De Sense Lelie
A Potpourri of arts and crafts. You can visit painters, jewellery makers, stroopwafel bakers and more.
>Visit the Jagershuis antique shop
> Visit the Cocoa Lab
If you love cocoa then make sure to visit this quaint little store to learn how to make your own chocolate bar. You can also pick up some really good quality cocoa powder if you are into baking or like hot chocolate like us.
How long will it take to visit the Zaanse Schans?
It would easily take up-to half a day to see all that Zaanse Schans has to offer. We don’t recommend you visit this site in a hurry.
What are the admission prices to the Zaanse Schans?
Entrance to the village is completely free and there are also plenty of free attractions to visit in Zaanse Schans You only need to pay for parking if you bring your car and also pay some bucks to enter the above mentioned windmills. Entry to each windmill is approximately €3. So if you plan to visit all the windmills then its better you purchase a Zaanse Schans Card which will work out cheaper
- Make sure to Download the “Zaanse Schans” App which offers an locative media tour about the history of the Zaanse Schans and its region.
- If you fancy Pancakes then do not forget to try them from De Kraai . Indulge yourself with the traditional Dutch pancake and some coffee/tea.
We hope you enjoyed this post on “Free things to do in Zaanse Schans”. If you found this post helpful, do not forgot to share this article with your friends and family who are planning a trip to Netherlands.