Discover historic Dutch windmills of Zaanse Schans. This picturesque countryside area of the Netherlands offers a view into the past of its cultural heritage. There were once more than 1,000 windmills in Zaanstreek, the first industrial area of Europe.
Zaanse Schans displays life as it was in the 17th to 19th century of North Holland. Rich in industrial history, each windmill and workshop is unique and most are fully operational. You will also find a bakery museum, clog, cheese and pewter factories, as well as restaurants, barns and wooden houses to explore.
Architect Jaap Schipper started planning the area in 1946 and began development of Zaanse Schans in 1961. Schipper located and transported these historic windmills from all over the Netherlands.
Historic windmills of Zaanse Schans:
- The De Ooievaar windmill is from Assendelft. The mill is used for the production of a variety of oils.
- Late 19th century – De Hadel is a miniature mill used to pump water.
- De Windhond is a miniature mill used to crush sandstone into fine sand for abrasives.
- 1656 De Bleeke Dood is the oldest existing smock mill (hexagonical shape, rather than cylindrical). It was used to produce flour for bakers.
- Het Klaverblad, built in 2000, is a small hollow post mill design, which would stand on top of a barn and would be used as a saw mill.
- The 1663 De Os Windmill oil mill transformed from wind power to diesel engine power between 1916 to 1931.
- The 1693 De Bonte Hen oil mill is still producing today.
- The 1680 Het Jonge Schaap sawmill was completely rebuilt in 2007 after it was demolished in 1942. Learn about the operation of a sawmill and watch a movie about the rebuilding project. This windmill is one of the largest types in the area.
- The 1610 De Zoeker is mostly an oil mill, This mill also made cocoa and paint for a very short period of time.
- The 1781 Verfmolen De Kat, restored in 1960, grinds colouring materials as a paint mill, but also produces chalk and oils supplies for restorers and artists all over the world. It produces the largest variety of artist materials in the Netherlands. Watch demonstrations about old paint techniques. The first windmill appeared on this site in 1646. It is the last remaining wind-powered paint mill in the world.
- The 1867 De Gekroonde Poelenburg was one of the 200 saw mills in the Zaans area.
- The 1786 De Huisman originally a snuff mill, was rebuilt at Zaanse Schans combining the Indië’s Welvaren spice mill. The exterior De Huisman and interior Indië’s Welvaren are restored and house a very aromatic authentic spice shop.
- These historic windmills are from the 18th and 19th centuries.
- Architect Jaap Schipper designed Zaanse Schans.
- Most of the windmills are operational.
- Most buildings are original, with a few reproductions.
- Industrial windmills were used to mill flour, oil, spices, pigments and wood.
- Steam power replaced wind power at the end of the 19th century.
- The 1781 Verfmolen De Kat is the last remaining wind-powered paint mill in the world.
Getting to Zaanse Schans:
Zaanse Schans, located in northern Holland, is on the Zaan River, a significant waterway for Northern Holland. It makes a great trip from nearby Amsterdam. Consider taking a tour combining a visit to the nearby villages of Edam and Volendam to see more of the wonderful Dutch countryside .
- Bus: It is 40 minutes by bus from the Amsterdam Central Station. Check the bus schedule.
- Ferry: Take the hop-on hop-off Zaan Ferry from Amsterdam. It is almost a two hour ferry ride from the Amsterdam Central Station.
- Take a guided tour or day excursion from Amsterdam
- Train: Take the train from Amsterdam to Koog-Zaandijk. It is about a 15 minute train ride and a short 10-minute walk.
- Take a River boat tour and learn about the history of the area.
- Ride a bike and train. Here is a handy bike route to follow from Amsterdam. Be sure to visit the famous Kissing Couple along the way.
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