Zaanse Schans Windmills - Everything You Need To Know

When we decided that our next city break was going to be Amsterdam I knew I would like to plan a trip to see the windmills at Zaanse Schans. Lots of people said if you are visiting Amsterdam with the kids then you need to see the windmills so that's exactly what we did. It was easy to plan within our time at Amsterdam and we managed to go on a nice sunny day which made it even more magical. If you are thinking of visiting Zaanse Schans here are some tips to make the most out of your visit. 

boy looking at a windmill
Zaanse Schans, Schansend 7, 1509 AW Zaandam
The Zaanse Schans is a residential area in which the 18th and 19th centuries are brought to life. It is such a beautiful and unique place to visit with museums, shops and windmills. It's like stepping in to a postcard. 

Zaanse Schans

What To Expect When Visiting Zaanse Schans
Zaanse Schans is a 'must see' if you are visiting Amsterdam. It's amazing to think that Zaanse Schans is just a short distance away from the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam's City Centre. When visiting Zaanse Schans there is so much to see and do. We visited on our last day of our trip and presumed we would be there about 1-2 hours but we were there for 4 and we didn't do everything. 

watchtower at Zaanse Schans

On arrival you are greeted by the Zaanse Schans Museum. We hadn't planned to go in so we did walk straight past this however it looks very impressive and if you would like to learn more about the history of Zaanse Schans then I would definitely pop in. 

outdoor play area
We spent most of our time walking round admiring the windmills and the beautiful landscapes. As you wander round there are lots of shops and windmills open for you to go inside. 

First we stumbled upon the Cheese experience, tasting and shop. It was a walk through telling you all the history of cheese making with lots of interactive displays, audio and video. Once finished it brings you in to the cheese shop. Wow, it was so busy! I don't think I have ever seen so much cheese! There are lots of samples of all types of cheese. I didn't try any but I did spot some unusual flavours such as coconut cheese. 

animals on a small farm

Outside the Cheese experience was a little farm area. We got to see baby goats and cows. 

view from windmill

As we walked further along we spotted a windmill which had a viewing platform half way up. John and little J went inside and then I spotted them half way up the windmill admiring the beautiful views. I was going to join them however to get to the viewing platform you have to climb a steep ladder which is not my thing so I stayed firmly on the ground. 

Walking alongside the windmills was really windy even though it was a bright sunny day. It was nice to see them spinning. They really are very pretty. 

making hot chocolate

There is a strong smell of cocoa in the air as you walk around Zaanse Schans which brought us to a chocolate shop where you can make your own hot chocolate. Little J loved this, it was fun and interactive and delicious. 

tapas board

apple pie and whipped cream

As I mentioned earlier it was really windy during our visit and we did want to hop on the windmill hopper canal cruise however there was quite a queue and the boat only holds 12 people per 25 minute cruise. Instead we went to admire the rest of Zaanse Schans, head to the play area and then have a bite to eat before we headed back to Amsterdam City Centre. 

Opening Hours
Not all attractions are open every day, but most attractions are open from 9am till 5pm. It would be best to check the calendar online before your visit.

Zaanse Schans is free to walk around and there are several attractions that do not cost to enter. However if you did want to make the most of your visit you can buy a Zaanse Schans Card for only €29.50 adults and €20 children you can visit several museums, 2 windmills and crafts.

Admission to the Zaans Museum and the Verkade Chocolate and Biscuit Factory
Admission to the World of Windmills museum Zaansche Molen
Admission to two Windmills
Admission to the Weaver’s House and Cooperage
Admission to the Zaan Time Museum
10% discount at restaurant De Kraai (minimum spend €10.00)
Discount on parking ticket € 9.00 instead of € 15.00 (parking spaces not guaranteed, campers not allowed)

view of the windmills in the distance

How To Get There
Depending where you are coming from it's listed on their website as The Zaanse Schans is a stone’s throw from Amsterdam and is easily accessible by bus, train, car and bicycle.

We hopped on the metro from Amsterdam City Centre then got a bus. It was easy to find on route on google maps and took about 50 mins.

Tips For Your Visit
Toilets cost €1 per person including children. The pancake restaurant has toilets that are free to paying customers or you can leave a €1 coin in the tray. 

Take you time. There is so much to see and do. There is no rush.

Take lots of photos. There are some nice photo spots and photo opportunities including standing in huge clogs or having the windmills as a backdrop. 

Make some hot chocolate. It was really fun and little J said it tasted delicious. 

If you want to go inside a windmill it costs €6 adults and €3 for children. We only wanted to go in the one so it wasn't worth us buying the Zaanse Schans Cards. 

windmill at Zaanse Schans

Our Thoughts
We loved our visit to Zaanse Schans and we are so glad we planned it in to our trip to Amsterdam. The bright blue skies really did help it feel quite magical at times so I'm not quite sure how we would have felt if it was raining. 

A little sad we didn't make it on the windmill hopper canal cruise however other than that we saw everything we wanted and it was definitely worth the 50 minute trip. 


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