Zaanse Schans


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Zaanse Schans, north of Amsterdam, is one of the oldest industrial areas in the world and was particularly important in the 18th and 19th centuries. Over 1,000 windmills were built in the area to help produce linseed oil, paint, snuff, mustard, paper and other products. Today many of Zaanse Schans’ remaining windmills are operating and open to the public as part of a large, outdoor museum.

On another beautiful February day, we took a train to Zaandam for lunch, continued by train to Zaanse Schans, then returned to Amsterdam by ferry. Zaandam resident Jan Pieterse had recommended the visits and the ferry ride, and we very much enjoyed it all.

Below are trip highlights from February 15th, 2019. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps

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Pollux
The Port of Amsterdam firefighting tugboat Pollux moored near Central Station. The tug was built in 2013 in Damen Shipyard, near the NDSM wharf district we visited yesterday.
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Feadship
Feadship’s Royal Van Lent Shipyard, viewed on the train to Zaandam. The superyacht builder Feadship is headquartered in Haarlem and is constructing this fourth Netherlands yard just west of Amsterdam. The new yard will be capable of building yachts up to 160m long.
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Inntel Hotel
The Inntel Hotel in standing above the central canal includes about 70 gables in five varieties. The blue house at the top right is a tribute to the French impressionist painter Claude Monet who spent four months in Zaandam in 1871 and painted a similar-looking house.
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Wilhelminasluis
The small ship lock in the Wilhelminasluis lock system. The locks, built in 1903, are in the process of a major 100-year upgrade, including a widening, deepening and straightening of the larger ship lock.
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Fish Store
Delicious fresh cod and chips for lunch on the patio at the Fish Store with a view north across Zaandam’s beautiful city centre.
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Clogs
A fabulous display of clogs decorates the upper deck of this house along Hogendijk in Zaandam.
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Yachthaven Zaandam
Yachthaven Zaandam, where we visited Jan Pieterse and Deb Richardson on their canal boat Jan-kees.
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Tsar Peter House
Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia, visited Zaandam in 1697 to learn the shipbuilding trade. The little house he stayed in is one of the oldest wooden houses in the Netherlands and is now encased inside this brick museum. We had a train to catch to Zaanse Schans, so didn’t stop in.
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Cocoa
Zaanse Schans is famous for two things: windmills and cocoa. Cocoa beans have been crushed here to make chocolate for over two centuries and the wonderful smell of chocolate is prevalent throughout the town.
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Windmills
Windmills are Zaanse Schans’ primary claim to fame. Zaanse Schans is one of the oldest industrial areas in the world and was particularly important in the 18th and 19th centuries. Over 1,000 windmills were built in the area to help produce linseed oil, paint, snuff, mustard, paper and other products.
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Canals
Perfect reflections in Zaanse Schans in a clear and calm day.
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Het Jonge Schaap
Many of windmills in Zaanse Schans are operating and open to the public. This is the Het Jonge Schaap (The Young Sheep) sawmill, built in 2007 as a replica of the original that was constructed in 1680 and demolished in 1942.
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Schematic
The Het Jonge Schaap sawmill visitor center runs a movie showing how the windmill was built using mostly hand tools. It’s a pretty impressive feat. These is one page of the detailed schematics they followed, drawn by an engineer from the original mill before it was demolished.
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Sawing
The sawmill is fully operational, producing about half the mill’s revenue (the rest is from tourism). They have a niche in being able to work with unusual lengths and sizes of wood, and produce a high-quality product.
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Tour
The workers/volunteers at the sawmill were knowledgeable and enthusiastic. We had a great time touring the mill and learning how it worked.
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Zanferry
Enjoying a beer on the upper deck of the Zanferry that we’ll take back to Amsterdam. The weather is spectacular.
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Clearance
The clearance sure looked close as the Zanferry passed under this bridge south of Zaanse Schans.
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Apartments
Fabulous double-height apartments overlooking the Zaan River on the northern outskirts of Zaandam.
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Locking Through
Exiting the large ship lock at Zaandam. The photo we took earlier in the day was of the small ship lock.
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Anta
Watching the barge Anta lock through northbound on a half-hour stop in Zaandam.
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Dam
The restaurants edging Dam square in Zaandam were packed with patrons enjoying the sunny and warm Friday afternoon.
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Car Drop Off
The large river barges often carry a car on their roof that they can lift off by crane to make shore excursions. This practise is so common there even are special signs showing a car loading zone.
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Holland Jachtbouw
Holland Jachtbouw just south of Zaandam specializes large sailing yachts. Their largest to date is the 62m Athos, the largest privately-owned two-masted schooner in the world.
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Damen
Passing the extensive yard of shipbuilder Damen adjacent to Amsterdam Marina at NDSM Wharf.
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Kraanspoor
Another view to Kraanspoor, built on a craneway in the former NDSM shipyard.
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Botel
The Amsterdam Botel, a hotel in a boat, moored at NDSM Wharf.
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Mojo
A delicious dinner at Mojo Japanese Kitchen, just east of Central Station, with a fabulous view over the Oosterdok and the old center of Amsterdam.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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