Windmills Village Walk, Zaandam

Windmills Village Walk (Self Guided), Zaandam

Windmills Village, or Zaanse Schans, as it's known locally, is a truly unique place in the Netherlands. In this quaint location, packed to the brim with postcard-perfect wooden houses, windmills, and barns, one can easily experience what life was like in the country back in the 1850s.

Among the village's top highlights is the Museum of the Dutch Clock. Home to a stunning collection of timekeeping mechanisms, it provides a fascinating glimpse into the country's horological history.

For those interested in a taste of Dutch culture, the Albert Heijn Museum Shop is a must-visit. This shop offers a delightful selection of Dutch food products and memorabilia, making it a perfect place to find souvenirs and delicious treats.

The Wooden Shoe Workshop of Zaanse Schans is another gem in the village. Here, you can witness skilled craftsmen handmaking traditional Dutch wooden shoes, known as clogs – a unique opportunity to learn about this iconic Dutch footwear.

History buffs will find the Zaans Museum captivating, as it offers insights into the industrial heritage of the Zaan region, including a detailed look into the area's role in the Dutch Golden Age.

The Hadel Mill, Catharina Hoeve Cheese Farm, De Huisman, De Gekroonde Poelenburg, De Kat, and De Zoeker windmills are iconic structures that add to the village's picturesque charm. These historic windmills are not only visually stunning but also showcase the ingenuity of Dutch engineering.

To make the most of your visit to Zaandam, be sure to explore the Windmills Village. This outlying area is freely accessible. So, don't miss the chance to immerse yourself in Dutch heritage in this oasis of history and create unforgettable memories.
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Windmills Village Walk Map

Guide Name: Windmills Village Walk
Guide Location: Netherlands » Zaandam (See other walking tours in Zaandam)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 Km or 0.7 Miles
Author: nataly
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Museum of the Dutch Clock
  • Albert Heijn Museum Shop
  • Wooden Shoe Workshop of Zaanse Schans
  • Zaans Museum
  • The Hadel Mill
  • Catharina Hoeve Cheese Farm
  • De Huisman (The Houseman)
  • De Gekroonde Poelenburg (The Crowned Poelenburg)
  • De Kat (The Cat Windmill)
  • De Zoeker (The Seeker Windmill)
Museum of the Dutch Clock

1) Museum of the Dutch Clock

The Museum of the Dutch Clock, also known as the Time Museum, is a fascinating institution located within a charming 17th-century house. This unique museum offers visitors an engaging journey through the rich history of timekeeping in the Netherlands, showcasing a diverse collection of historical timepieces from the period spanning 1500 to 1850.

At the heart of the museum's collection are Dutch historical timepieces that provide valuable insights into the evolution of timekeeping technology in the region. These remarkable artifacts include a wide variety of clocks and watches, each with its own distinctive features and historical significance.

One of the noteworthy highlights of the collection is the impressive array of tower clocks. These magnificent timekeeping devices, often found in churches and public buildings, played a pivotal role in ensuring that communities were synchronized with the passing of time. Tower clocks are not only functional but also a testament to the craftsmanship and engineering prowess of their time.

Among the treasures of the Museum of the Dutch Clock is the first and earliest Dutch grandfather clock. The museum also boasts an impressive selection of pendulum clocks, a revolutionary invention that greatly improved the accuracy of timekeeping.

For those with an interest in precision clocks and watches, the Time Museum has a wealth of historical examples on display. These intricate instruments were not only precision timekeepers but also objects of beauty and innovation.

Whether you're a clock enthusiast, a history buff, or simply curious about the evolution of timekeeping technology, this museum offers a captivating journey through centuries of innovation and craftsmanship.
Albert Heijn Museum Shop

2) Albert Heijn Museum Shop

The Albert Heijn Museum Shop offers visitors a captivating journey back in time to the origins of a grocery store that has become an iconic part of Dutch culture. The museum shop is a faithful reconstruction of the very first Albert Heijn store, which originally opened its doors in Oostzaan in 1887.

Located within a centuries-old wooden building from the Zaan region, the museum's primary goal is to preserve and showcase the historical heritage of this beloved grocery brand. The meticulously reconstructed store, opened on May 23, 1967, serves as a tribute to the store's roots, as the original Oostzaan location no longer exists. Spanning 36 square meters, the museum shop is slightly larger than its historical counterpart and stands at a height of 2.80 meters. The attention to detail in recreating this historic grocery store is evident in every aspect, offering a genuine glimpse into the past.

Adjacent to the shop, a building dating back to 1750 provides insight into the living conditions of the store manager during that era. This construction closely mirrors the setup of the original store, where Albert Heijn and his family resided in similar compact living quarters behind the shop.

Today, the Albert Heijn Museum Shop is open to the public free of charge, welcoming between 125,000 and 150,000 visitors each year. The dedicated team of volunteers has grown from two to ten, and the shop's opening hours have been significantly extended to accommodate the growing interest in this historical gem.

While entrance fees are no longer charged, the shop generates revenue through the sale of select groceries, old Dutch candies, posters, and DVDs. This unique museum not only preserves the heritage of a beloved Dutch institution but also provides an educational and nostalgic experience for visitors from all walks of life.
Wooden Shoe Workshop of Zaanse Schans

3) Wooden Shoe Workshop of Zaanse Schans (must see)

The Wooden Shoe Workshop of Zaanse Schans, also known as the Clog Museum, situated in the charming neighborhood of Zaanse Schans, is a delightful celebration of the iconic Dutch wooden shoe, known as clogs.

Owned and operated by Kooijman Souvenirs & Clogs, a local clog company with a deep appreciation for these humble yet significant footwear, the Clog Museum offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the history and artistry behind the wooden shoe. The museum's collection includes clogs from different eras and various countries, showcasing the diverse styles and designs that have evolved over time.

Visitors to the Clog Museum can expect a fascinating journey through the world of clogs, from their origins to their role in Dutch culture and beyond. The museum houses an extensive array of clogs, allowing guests to gain insight into the evolution of this traditional footwear. These wooden shoes come in various sizes, shapes, and decorative motifs, reflecting the craftsmanship and creativity of clog makers throughout history.

One of the highlights of the Clog Museum is the opportunity to witness live demonstrations of traditional methods used in carving and decorating clogs. Skilled artisans showcase their expertise, giving visitors a firsthand look at the intricate craftsmanship involved in creating these iconic Dutch shoes. From carving intricate patterns to hand-painting vibrant designs, the artistry of clog making comes to life in these captivating demonstrations.

A particularly sparkling gem in the Clog Museum's collection is the "Diamond Clog," a unique creation designed by an Amsterdam metal worker as a tribute to the British artist Damien Hirst. This dazzling clog adds a touch of contemporary flair to the museum's traditional offerings, exemplifying the enduring fascination with these iconic shoes.
Zaans Museum

4) Zaans Museum

The Zaans Museum is a cultural history museum that offers a fascinating journey through the rich heritage of the Zaan region. Established in 1998, the museum serves as a repository for cultural-historical and regional collections, shedding light on the residential and industrial culture that has defined the Zaan area over the years.

Designed by architect Cor van Hillo and housed in a building constructed in 1999, the Zaans Museum is not only a treasure trove of historical artifacts but also a feat of contemporary and open architecture. The museum's lighting design was also celebrated, earning awards like the Edison Award 2000 and the International Illumination Design Award 2001.

In 2009, the museum expanded its offerings with the addition of the Verkade Experience, an immersive exhibit that provides visitors with insights into the culture and history of the region. The museum's extensive collection showcases various aspects of home culture, including regional costumes, Zaans painted furniture, and everyday items from Zaandam households. Furthermore, the industrial collection delves into the legacies of prominent Zaan companies like Bruynzeel, Honig, Albert Heijn, and Lassie.

In 2015, the museum made a significant acquisition, securing an oil painting by the renowned French impressionist Claude Monet from his Zaanse period (June 4 - October 8, 1871). The painting, titled "De Voorzaan en de Westerhem," was acquired for approximately 1.16 million euros. In a bizarre incident on August 15, 2021, two individuals attempted to steal a 39.2 x 71.5 cm canvas with a frame from the museum in broad daylight. However, their endeavor proved unsuccessful, as they left the painting outside the museum after removing it from the wall.
The Hadel Mill

5) The Hadel Mill

Nestled within the picturesque Zaanse Schans stands The Hadel, a captivating see-saw mill that adds to the charm of this historic area. Although The Hadel may not serve its original function of draining a polder any longer, its significance as a meadow mill remains intact.

Originally hailing from Broerdijk, near Midwoud, The Hadel had a crucial role as a sub-drainage mill for a section of the Vier Noorder Koggen water board. However, in 1958, it embarked on a journey of relocation to Benningbroek. Subsequently, it found a new home under the care of the Zaanse Schans Foundation.

While The Hadel has become a part of the Zaanse Schans landscape, its wind capabilities have been somewhat compromised due to the expansion of the area. Nevertheless, this charming mill continues to turn and spin the water in the ditches, albeit for the purpose of refreshing it.

One of its notable features is its accessibility; visitors can approach this captivating mill within just a few meters. The Hadel stands as a testament to the rich history and heritage of the region, and it has rightfully earned the status of a municipal monument.
Catharina Hoeve Cheese Farm

6) Catharina Hoeve Cheese Farm

The Catharina Hoeve stands as a living testament to the rich cheese-making traditions of the Netherlands. This authentic 17th-century cheese farm offers visitors a delightful opportunity to step back in time and immerse themselves in the artistry of cheese production. With its picturesque setting and professional cheese-making demonstrations, Catharina Hoeve has become a must-visit destination for tourists seeking to savor the essence of Dutch culture and cuisine.

As you approach the farm, you'll be transported to a bygone era, where cheese-making was a cherished guild, alongside other crafts like woodworking, wooden shoe making, pewter casting, and liqueur distillation. The Catharina Hoeve has been thoughtfully converted into a cheese factory designed especially for tourists, making it a unique attraction on the Zaanse Schans landscape.

One of the highlights of your visit to Catharina Hoeve is undoubtedly the professional cheese-making demonstration. Skilled artisans, dressed in traditional Dutch costumes, will guide you through the intricate process of cheese production. From the iconic Gouda to the tantalizing goat and herb cheeses crafted by Henri Willig, you'll gain a deeper understanding of the craftsmanship and passion behind these quality cheeses. This immersive experience allows you to witness firsthand the artistry, precision, and dedication that go into creating these delectable Dutch delicacies.

Admission to this cheese paradise is entirely free, welcoming curious visitors without any reservation requirement. This means that private visitors have the flexibility to explore the farm at their own pace, absorbing the fascinating history and heritage of Henri Willig cheeses.
De Huisman (The Houseman)

7) De Huisman (The Houseman)

The Houseman, an enchanting octagonal tower mill situated within the picturesque Zaanse Schans, represents a splendid historical relic that has undergone a remarkable revival.

Since 1955, De Huisman has graced the De Haan warehouse, an iconic fixture of the Zaanse Schans. However, its history extends further back, with historical records hinting that this mill originally stood on the Blauwe Pad, now recognized as Claude Monetstraat, in Zaandam, dating as far back as 1786. This petite yet captivating mill, with its unassuming 11.5-meter radius, has served a multitude of roles throughout its existence. It has functioned as a snuff mill (tobacco mill), a mustard mill, and even as a sawmill.

Today the Houseman has discovered a new vocation as a spice mill, nestled within the welcoming embrace of the Indie’s Welvaren Spice MIll. While the Houseman once thrived as a fully operational mustard production facility, it eventually adopted modern machinery for mustard processing. The mill now stands as a proud possession of the De Zaansche Molen Association, a devoted guardian of the region's illustrious milling heritage.

The comprehensive restoration of the Houseman commenced in January 2010, ushering in a new era for this historical treasure. As part of this ambitious endeavor, the contemporary mustard production facilities found a new home in an industrial estate in Wormerveer. A brand new section was thoughtfully constructed adjacent to the De Haan warehouse, and in December 2010, the distinctive octagonal mill was painstakingly installed. This modern section houses three pairs of edging stones, capable of being driven by both electrical and wind power. The intricate mechanism relies on a combination of drive belts and cam wheels, with one of the connecting edge stones featuring wooden components.

The De Haan warehouse, elevated by approximately 30 centimeters and fortified with a new foundation, currently hosts a charming spice shop.
De Gekroonde Poelenburg (The Crowned Poelenburg)

8) De Gekroonde Poelenburg (The Crowned Poelenburg)

The Crowned Poelenburg is a remarkable paltrok mill that has been meticulously restored to its working glory. This historic windmill serves as a wind-powered sawmill and is an emblem of the country's rich milling heritage. The Crowned Poelenburg holds the prestigious distinction of being listed as a National Monument, a testament to its historical significance.

Situated within a cluster of several industrial windmills, The Crowned Poelenburg is a living testament to the industrial prowess of the past. However, its history is a tapestry woven with several distinct windmills, adding to its unique narrative.

The saga of The Crowned Poelenburg traces its roots to the original location of the first De Poelenburg in Zaandam-Oost, dating back to 1733. Named after its owner, Pieter Jochemsz. Poelenburg, the mill was an integral part of the local landscape. Tragically, in 1903, fire consumed this historic structure, marking the end of an era.

In its place, a windmill known as The Locomotive was transported to Zaandam. The mill continued to operate diligently until 1950. After this, it gradually fell into disrepair, its sails stilled by the passage of time.

In 1963, Vereniging De Zaansche Molen, a Dutch windmill preservation society, acquired the mill and orchestrated its move to the Zaanse Schans. The mill was re-erected at the site of the pealing windmill De Grootvorst, which had tragically burned down in 1928. Restoration efforts breathed new life into The Crowned Poelenburg, allowing it to once again embrace the wind.

Despite the challenges faced during its restoration, the mill's unique winding problem was resolved, thanks to dedicated efforts over the years. Today, De Gekroonde Poelenburg stands proudly as a symbol of resilience and historical preservation.

While the windmill is not open to the public due to safety concerns, it remains a cherished piece of history, a testament to the enduring legacy of wind-powered industry in the Netherlands.
De Kat (The Cat Windmill)

9) De Kat (The Cat Windmill) (must see)

The Cat Windmill is a true marvel in the world of milling. What sets this remarkable structure apart is its singular distinction – it is the last surviving working windmill globally dedicated to the craft of paint-making.

The roots of The Cat Windmill trace back to its original construction in 1646, when it began its journey as an oil mill. However, in 1782, tragedy struck as a fire consumed the mill, reducing it to ashes. But the spirit of this industrious windmill persevered, and it was swiftly rebuilt, rising from the ashes to continue its vital work.

For nearly a century, The Cat Windmill dutifully fulfilled its role, ceaselessly grinding and processing materials. However, as the winds of change swept through the landscape, modernization crept in. In 1904, The Cat Windmill ceased its operations and was partially dismantled, marking the end of an era.

In 1960, another chapter of its illustrious history unfolded. The eight-sided paint mill known as 'De Duinjager' faced the inevitability of urban development and was relocated from its original site to a new home atop the old storehouse of 'De Kat.' This remarkable relocation rekindled the mill's purpose, and it once again sprang to life, grinding raw materials like chalk in the traditional manner to produce pigments used in paints.

Today, The Cat Windmill stands as a living museum of heritage, a testament to craftsmanship that spans generations. It's a place where the art of paint-making is preserved in its traditional form, allowing visitors to step back in time and witness the meticulous process that once colored the world.
De Zoeker (The Seeker Windmill)

10) De Zoeker (The Seeker Windmill)

Nestled within the picturesque Zaanse Schans stands a unique testament to Dutch ingenuity and heritage -The Seeker windmill. This historic windmill serves a remarkable purpose, as it has been pressing seeds, such as linseed and rapeseed, into vegetable oil for centuries. Among the windmills that once dotted the landscape of the region, The Seeker stands as the last operational oil mill and is a cherished relic of the past.

The story of The Seeker dates back to its construction in 1672 in the charming village of Zaandijk. For centuries, this venerable windmill faithfully carried out its task, pressing seeds to extract precious vegetable oil. The mill's history is one of resilience and adaptability, as it continued its operations with only a few interruptions until 1968 when it underwent a significant change – relocation to the Zaanse Schans.

Today, The Seeker is a beloved part of the Zaanse Schans, where visitors can witness the magic of this centuries-old oil mill in action. Its iconic sails gracefully turn, driven by the wind, as it continues to perform the age-old craft of oil extraction. The sight and sounds of The Seeker are a vivid reminder of a time when windmills were the heartbeat of Dutch industry and innovation.

Walking Tours in Zaandam, Netherlands

Create Your Own Walk in Zaandam

Create Your Own Walk in Zaandam

Creating your own self-guided walk in Zaandam is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Zaandam Introduction Walking Tour

Zaandam Introduction Walking Tour

Although historically significant as such, Zaandam, a charming old town on the banks of the Zaan River in the northwestern part of the Netherlands, does not have the same level of worldwide recognition as some larger cities. Despite its close proximity to Amsterdam, Zaandam has a plethora of tourist attractions of its own, readily available for those who seek them.

The name "Zaandam"...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles