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13 Things to do in Zaanse Schans: Easy Day Trip from Amsterdam

13 Things to do in Zaanse Schans: Easy Day Trip from Amsterdam

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Planning a trip to Amsterdam and thinking about possible day trips? Keep scrolling for my list of things to do in Zaanse Schans to see if it’s worth adding to your Amsterdam itinerary!
This list of things to do in Zaanse Schans with kids was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

When I started planning our trip to Amsterdam, I wanted to figure out a way for my kids to see a bit more of Holland outside the city.

So, I started looking into Zaanse Schans, an open-air museum that highlights Dutch culture. It’s fairly close to the city and it’s one of the top things to do in Amsterdam with kids!

Keep scrolling to see all the Zannse Schans activities so you can decide if it’s worth adding to your Amsterdam itinerary.

Don’t have time to read a bunch of Amsterdam blog posts and reviews? Here are some of our top picks for visiting Amsterdam with kids.

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Getting to Zaanse Schans

Train

Taking a train is a convenient way to reach Zaanse Schans from Amsterdam. Trains depart regularly from Amsterdam Central Station to Koog-Zaandijk Station, and the journey takes about 17 minutes.

From Koog-Zaandijk station, it’s a pleasant 15-minute walk to Zaanse Schans.

Bus

Another option is the bus. The Connexxion bus line 391 offers a direct connection from Amsterdam Central Station to Zaanse Schans, and the journey takes about 45 minutes.

Driving a Car

If you prefer to drive, Zaanse Schans is approximately a 25-minute drive from Amsterdam via the A10 and A8 motorways.

There is free parking available, but keep in mind that the area can be crowded, especially during peak tourist season.

Zaanse Schans Tours

There are many tour operators that offer organized trips to Zaanse Schans from Amsterdam.

These tours often include round-trip transportation, a guided tour of the village, and sometimes even additional stops at other popular Dutch attractions.

Personally, I think this is the way to go.

Image of a boy laughing in front of a Zaanse Schans windmill
We took this photo right after we hopped off our tour bus. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Giethoorn and Zaanse Schans Windmills Day Trip from Amsterdam

This is the tour that my family did. We did the Zaanse Schans clog workshop and cheese-making demonstration together. Then, we had about 90 minutes to explore on our own. Check the latest rates and availability.

Zaanse Schans, Volendam, and Marken Day Trip

This tour also explores the fishing village of Volendam, a cheese shop still making cheese using a traditional Dutch method, and a boat ride to Marken. Check the latest rates and availability.

Zaanse Schans 3-Hour Small Group Tour

If you just want to do a half-day trip from Amsterdam, this seems like a great option for families. You’ll get to go inside a working windmill, do the clog workshop, and taste Dutch cheeses. Check the latest rates and availability.

13 Adorable Things To Do In Zaanse Schans Windmill Village

Visit a Working Windmill

Visiting a working windmill in Zaanse Schans offers a fascinating trip into the Netherlands’ rich past.

Image of a mom and boy in front of 3 windmills at Zaanse Schans near Amsterdam
It was cool to see real-life, working windmills in Zaanse Schans! Photo credit: Darren Cheung

It’s a captivating experience to see the colossal sails in motion, capturing the wind’s power, and stepping inside to explore the traditional Dutch craft of milling.

Surrounded by the picturesque Dutch countryside, it is a unique opportunity to learn about the region’s history and its sustainable future.

Check Out the Zaanse Schans Clog Workshop

This was totally one of the coolest things we did in Zaanse Schans. We got to watch a guy turn a chunk of a log into a wooden clog in just a few minutes.

Image of a woman in front of a wall of wooden clogs in Zaanse Schans
It was so cool to see how these were made! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

There’s also a museum there where you can see all kinds of wooden shoes including clog roller skates! Plus, they had a cute wooden figurine of Miffy!

The shop itself is really cute and it’s hard not to walk out with some wooden shoes. Trust me!

Shop at the Handicraft Stores

The charming shops in Zaanse Schans are a delight, offering a delightful mix of traditional Dutch products and handmade crafts.

Visitors can find everything from locally made cheeses and fresh-baked goods to Delftware pottery and wooden clogs.

These authentic shops, often located in historic Dutch buildings, provide a unique shopping experience steeped in tradition and local culture.

Go Cheese Tasting

The Dutch are known for their cheese-making skills so we were pretty excited to see a demonstration on how they make the cheese at the Catharina Hoeve cheese farm.

Image of two boys at the cheese factory in Zaanse Schans Netherlands
The cheese factory tour was fascinating! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

But, we were even more excited to TASTE it! I think we tried 20 different types of Dutch cheese including some with truffles, lavender, beer, and pesto.

Indulge in a Dutch Pancake

For an authentic taste of Dutch pancakes, visitors to Zaanse Schans should head to De Kraai, a cozy restaurant located in the heart of the village.

Here, you can indulge in traditional Dutch pannenkoeken, served with a variety of sweet or savory toppings, in a quaint and welcoming setting.

Pet the Farm Animals

At the Catharina Hoeve cheese farm in Zaanse Schans, visitors of all ages can enjoy a friendly interaction with various farm animals. Yep, this Dutch cheese factory doubles as a petting zoo!

Image of a goat in Zaanse Schans Holland
This little goat came out to say hi after our cheese tour. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

This delightful petting farm offers a chance to get up close with goats, rabbits, sheep, and more, making it a perfect stop for families.

Admire Dutch Scenery

Zaanse Schans offers visitors a glimpse into the timeless beauty of the Dutch scenery.

Image of a windmill and old building in Zaanse Schans Netherlands
Zaanse Schans is an adorable and quaint Dutch village. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

The historic windmills lining the banks of the Zaan River, coupled with the traditional wooden houses painted in striking greens, create a picturesque, postcard-perfect landscape.

The surrounding meadows, dotted with grazing animals and intersected by serene canals, further enhance the charm of this quaint Dutch village.

Take a Boat Tour

Taking a boat tour in Zaanse Schans offers a unique perspective of the charming Dutch landscape, letting you see its iconic windmills and historic houses from the tranquil waters of the Zaan River.

It’s a relaxing and memorable way to appreciate the beauty of this traditional village while learning about its rich history.

Pose for Tourist Photos

I couldn’t believe how many photo ops there were that included Dutch clogs of all sizes! I really did geek out and take like a hundred pictures in the oversized clogs because it was just too much fun!

Image of a mom and son wearing oversized Dutch clogs at Zaanse Schans in the Netherlands
How fun are these Dutch clogs?! Photo credit: Darren Cheung

There are also tons of places to take beautiful photos with the working windmills in the background.

Visit the Neighboring City of Zaandam

Visiting the neighboring city of Zaandam from Zaanse Schans is a quick and rewarding trip, offering a delightful contrast of modern architecture alongside historical charm.

It’s a vibrant city known for its unique, stacked house façade of Inntel Hotel, diverse shopping opportunities, and the Czar Peter House, a significant monument of Russian-Dutch history.

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    Visit a Chocolate and Biscuit Factory at the Zaanse Museum

    A visit to the Verkade Experience at the Zaanse Museum is a must for any chocolate or biscuit lover.

    Visitors can immerse themselves in the delicious history of the Verkade brand, witnessing old production machines come to life and even having a chance to sample some of the factory’s traditional Dutch treats.

    Visit the Albert Heijn Museum Shop

    The Albert Heijn Museum Shop in Zaanse Schans provides a fascinating journey into the history of one of the Netherlands’ biggest supermarket chains.

    Visitors can step back in time to see the original small grocery store from 1887, complete with vintage products and antique cash registers, offering a unique perspective on Dutch retail history.

    Check Out the Bakery Museum

    The Bakery Museum in Zaanse Schans offers a delicious dive into Dutch baking traditions, displaying an assortment of historical baking equipment and traditional Dutch recipes.

    Visitors not only learn about the history of bread and pastry making, but they can also enjoy the enticing aroma of freshly baked goods and sample some delightful treats.

    Image of a boy posing with a wooden Miffy statue in Zaanse Schans
    We were excited to see Miffy in Zaanse Schans! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

    Zaanse Schans Travel Tips for Families

    Start Early

    To avoid the crowds and enjoy a more relaxed visit, aim to arrive early in the day. This will also allow you to maximize your time and visit all the attractions at a comfortable pace. We got there around 9:00 a.m. and it was perfect!

    Plan Your Visit

    Before your trip, research the attractions that most interest your family and prioritize those. Some must-see spots include the Zaanse Schans windmills, the cheese farm, and the clog-making workshop.

    Comfortable Shoes

    The village is mostly explored on foot, so ensure everyone in the family has comfortable walking shoes.

    We wore closed-toe shoes because it was sprinkling and I’m so glad we didn’t wear sandals. However, it would be fine to wear sandals on a dry day.

    Bring Snacks and Water

    While there are restaurants and shops in Zaanse Schans, having snacks and water on hand, especially for younger children, is always a good idea.

    They do have places to get coffee in Zaanse Schans. The museum cafe is the only place we found that offered a milk alternative.

    Check the Weather

    The weather can change quickly, so check the forecast and dress in layers or bring rain gear if necessary. A lot of the activities are outdoors so being prepared will make your visit more enjoyable.

    They do sell rain jackets, sweatshirts, and umbrellas in the shops if you end up needing something.

    Interactive Experiences

    Take advantage of interactive experiences such as clog-making demonstrations or cheese tastings. These can be educational and fun for children.

    My kids liked these experiences more than just wandering around.

    Rest and Play Areas

    There are several green spaces where you can take a break and let the kids run around. Near the Zaans Museum, there’s a playground for children.

    Consider a Zaanse Schans Card

    If you plan to visit several museums and windmills, consider purchasing the Zaanse Schans Card. It can save money and also provides a free ferry trip to Zaanse Schans.

    Time Allowance

    Allow a good half to a full day for your visit to Zaanse Schans, so you don’t have to rush and can truly enjoy the experience.

    Safety

    As with any tourist destination, keep an eye on your belongings and ensure that children are safe, especially around the waterways and machinery in the windmills.

    Visiting Zaanse Schans FAQs

    Is the Zaanse Schans Card worth it for families?

    If you are able to spend a full day there, the Zaanse Schans card provides free entry or discounts to several museums and windmills, a free ferry trip, and discounts at participating shops and restaurants. Check the latest rates and availability.

    But, if you are only visiting for a couple of hours, paying for individual entries might be more cost-effective.

    Can you see giant Dutch clogs in Zaanse Schans?

    Yes, you can see giant wooden clogs in Zaanse Schans at the Kooijman Souvenirs and Clogs Wooden Shoe Workshop.

    There, you can not only see a variety of wooden shoes in different sizes, including giant ones, but also watch a clog-making demonstration and even buy a pair as a souvenir.

    What is the best time of the day to visit Zaanse Schans?

    The best time to visit Zaanse Schans depends on your preferences. Mornings can be quieter and less crowded, offering a peaceful exploration of the village.

    However, keep in mind that some attractions and shops might not open until later in the morning.

    Which is better: Kinderdijk or Zaanse Schans?

    Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is ideal for history and nature enthusiasts seeking a rustic experience with its 18th-century windmills.

    In contrast, Zaanse Schans, closer to Amsterdam, offers a diverse array of Dutch cultural experiences including windmills, cheese-making, and clog-making. The choice between the two depends on personal interests and time constraints.

    Is there a specific time of year that is best to visit Zaanse Schans?

    Zaanse Schans can be visited year-round, but it is particularly beautiful in spring when the flowers are in bloom, and the weather is generally pleasant.

    Is Zaanse Schans open every day?

    The village of Zaanse Schans itself is open every day and is free to enter. However, the hours of the windmills, shops, and museums vary. Many are open from April to October and have limited hours during the winter months.

    Can I complete a Zaanse Schans trip in one day?

    Yes, Zaanse Schans can easily be visited on a day trip from Amsterdam. Most visitors spend half a day to a full day exploring the windmills, museums, and shops.

    What are the options for getting to Zaanse Schans from Amsterdam?

    There are several ways to get to Zaanse Schans from Amsterdam: by train (followed by a short walk), by bus, by organized tour, or by driving yourself.

    Visiting Zaanse Schans Wrap Up

    Zaanse Schans is a small yet quaint village that boasts a treasure trove of authentic Dutch experiences.

    A Zaanse Schans itinerary is filled to the brim with cultural delights, with a myriad of things to do that are guaranteed to captivate every visitor.

    Discover the art of Dutch clog making, or enjoy the earthy aroma and rich tastes of a traditional cheese factory.

    The working windmills of Zaanse Schans, quintessential symbols of Dutch ingenuity, offer an engaging journey into the past, and their towering presence never fails to inspire awe.

    So whether you’re a history buff, a food lover, or a scenery enthusiast, this picturesque Dutch village promises a visit filled with lasting memories.

    From the clattering of wooden clogs to the smell of freshly baked bread, the spirit of old Holland is very much alive in Zaanse Schans.

    This is a must-visit destination that truly encapsulates the charm and essence of the Netherlands.

    Looking for more Amsterdam travel content? Check out my top Amsterdam travel tips, how to spend 3 days in Amsterdam with kids, places to stay in Amsterdam with kids, things to do in Amsterdam with kids, is Giethoorn worth visiting, how to book an Amsterdam photographer, and my top Amsterdam day trips!

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