Zaanse Schans, Netherlands is a neat windmill village just outside of Amsterdam, that has some neat things to check out and spend a few hours. It’s about a 3 hour 50 minute drive from Spangdahlem and 4 hours and 45 mins from Ramstein. We drove to Zannse Schans and spent a few hours before heading to our Bed & Breakfast only 15 minutes away.
The great thing about Zaanse Schans is that you can see the iconic windmills, and several in one area which is not so common now. There is also a museum, clock museum, some demos like cheese making, shoe making, chocolate making, and of course some shopping.
It is free to walk around and see the village however there is a €9 fee for parking and the bathrooms are €0.50 to use. If you want to see the museums or inside the windmills there is also a fee for that. We chose to get the Zaanse Schans card which gave us entry into the museum, coopery, and one of the large windmills. It was €37/$40 for 2 adults and 2 kids, which we didn’t think was horrible. However if your wanting to spend a bit less you could easily skip the museum and just choose one of the large windmills to go inside, it’s €4 per person so just that would’ve been €16 for our family of 4. Or you can just walk around the village and go inside the free stuff and see the free demos as well. We figured since we’re only going once we’d just hit it all 😉
We chose to visit the De Kat windmill, which is the paint windmill. When choosing I had read that it was best to choose one that’s sails were spinning the fastest to get the most out of the experience, De Kat’s sails were moving along the quickest out of the 3. I love the sound of the windmills, it’s hard to describe but you can here it here on this site, which is another windmill village. This mill grinds chalk to make paint. I’ll have a whole post about it soon!
Another great thing about Europe is the weather and how fickle it is. It was overcast and dark when we arrived which provided some great photos and then a few hours later it was sunny and clear making for more great photos. We got the best of both worlds that day!
The coopery was a neat little stop to see how barrels are made, I found this fascinating because we have a huge wooden wine barrel in our living room, so it was neat to see what goes into barrel making. It’s included in the Zaanse Schans card otherwise it’s €2,50 per person to get in. If you don’t get the Zaanse Schans card you can easily skip this if it’s not something your highly interested in.
There are quite a few shops that have free admission and demos. Cheese making, clog making, and chocolate making but you have to time the demos right. It seemed like the cheese one was pretty regular, we never seen the chocolate one happen, and the shoe one gets super packed and clogs up entry into the building! We chose to skip the demos since we knew we’d get to see the cheese & clog demo at Clara Maria’s.
Display in the chocolate shop.
I loved this cookie molds that were on display in the pastry shop.
There are tons of neat wooden shoes on display into the building but if there is a demo going on you’ll get stuck in this hall for a good while! We just went back out the entrance and in through the exit to get my postcards.
Wedding clogs, very ornate!
The Zaans museum was the last stop of the day and took us about 45 mins to go through, it could easily take longer if you wanted to listen to the whole audioguide but we’re movers and shakers 😉 The first part of the museum the kids didn’t find real interesting. It was OK but didn’t blow me away.
The first part consists of displays and some portraits, not overly entertaining.
The 2nd part of the museum with the biscuit (cookie) making side was the best. It had interactive games, faux working machines, and a cookie to sample.
The above game you had to put the bon bons in the boxes competing with your partner. We had fun racing each other to get it done.
If your short on time or think this isn’t the best fit for you family you could easily skip it and not miss much. Also know they don’t allow bags in you can put it in locker or they will store it for you, we just ran ours back out to the car.
There were some goats that the kids could pet right outside the cheese house. Green cheese anyone?!
The observation deck which is behind the museum and in the parking area is free and gives a great arial view of the area, so do miss that.
We had a great day at Zannse Schas, we were there for 3.5 hours and could’ve easily been longer if we had tried to see the demos and you could just people watch and snack on pastries as well.
Know Before You Go
What: Zaanse Shans, Netherlands – Windmill village
How To Get There: It’s about 3 hours 50 mins from Spangdahlem, and 4 hours 45 min from Ramstein. GPS address: Schansend 7, Zaandam
Parking: is available for €9 in the lot near the museum. You pay for your ticket at the hut near the entrance to the village where they sell photos, it’s easily overlooked and we seen several folks walking around confused.
Cost: Free entry into the village, shops and demos. Fees required for the large windmills, museums, coopery, etc. Consider a Zannse Schans card if you’ll be doing several paid attractions.
Dogs: We seen several dogs here with their owners walking around the village, not inside the attractions or buildings though.
Traveling with little kids: The village is stroller friendly however there is not room for them in the buildings as they are very small and can get very crowded.
How long: Plan on at least 3 hours, could easily spend more time here if desired.