ZAANSE SCHANS – cycling by Dutch windmills

Zaanse Schans may be a little kitschy cute, but it's fun for young and old.

Recent hiking duties have left me a little soft. Legs and lungs are doing a good job, but the backside hasn’t been on the bike for a while.

So I eased myself back into the saddle for a little loop ride out of Amsterdam.

To remind myself I was back in Holland, I picked a route around the Zaan, a watercourse just north of Amsterdam, leading into the North Sea Canal.

Zaandam at its mouth is an unremarkable village, which has become notable in the last year with the opening of the Zaandam Inntel, a hotel complex with an eye-catching design.

It's still brand new, with more work going on around it.

These ones are nearly finished. What do you think of them?

Russian Tsar Peter I studied shipbuilding in Zaandam in 1697, as this monument celebrates. The large Russian gentleman wanted to be in the photo too. In the heat of the moment I couldn't remember the Russian for 'Get lost, you annoying drunk!' so I pointed and shot.

There are signs in the street warning cyclists to chain up their bikes. '79 bikes stolen here in 2009'. Judging from the empty spaces on the bike racks it must be true.

A few kilometres of gentle riding up the Zaan brought me to Zaanse Schans, one of the most popular tourist attractions close to Amsterdam.

Zaanse Schans windmills.

Old houses and windmills have been brought here from around the country to form an open air museum.

The difference with other open air museums is that the houses are occupied by real people who really live and work there.

Residents have to put up with tourists peering in their windows, but it's all part of the deal.

Entry to Zaanse Schans is free, though there are small charges for some of the museums.

From there I rode back to Amsterdam through the recreation/nature area Het Twiske.

Cow and geese in Het Twiske. It's not exactly wilderness, but it is a pleasant area of lakes and fields.

Then it was back to the little ferry which takes cyclists and pedestrians over the Ij canal to the big city.

The ferry behind Amsterdam Centraal Station.

All in all, a very pleasant little outing, 47.56km on the bike computer and the backside bruised but marginally firmer.

Here’s the map of the route – for details, click here.

Getting to Zaanse Schans without a bike: The train from Amsterdam Centraal to Koog Zaandijk takes about 20 minutes and costs EUR5.60. From there it’s about a ten minute walk to Zaanse Schans.


Filed under Cycling, Holland

4 responses to “ZAANSE SCHANS – cycling by Dutch windmills

  1. That hotel looks like Lego.

  2. tink

    Great post! We’re thinking of getting some bikes too and biking from Centraal to Zaanse Schans. Was it tough one? How many hours?

    • Thanks for the visit. Riding from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans is very easy – flat and well marked. The only problem can be the weather, but I can’t guarantee that! It’s a lovely ride anyway.

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