What do St. Petersburg and the town of Zaandam have in common, what is in the Netherlands? Climate, channels? Everything is so, and also the name of Peter I, the Great. It was in this city on the Zaan River that the Russian autocrat, who modestly called himself Peter Mikhailov, learned the basics of shipbuilding. But not only this makes Zaandam interesting for tourists, they also strive here to see a living corner of the history of the Netherlands located not far from it – the ethnographic village of Zaanse Schans. Check clothesbliss for how to get to Netherlands.
How to get to Zaandam
If you want to get to Zaandam, bypassing Amsterdam, immediately from Schiphol airport, then you will need Sprinter trains going every half hour to Horn. The trip on them to the destination will take 17-20 minutes and will cost 4-7 EUR. Other types of trains will require you to transfer. But the journey from Amsterdam is not fraught with any difficulties. Zaandam is the second train stop from the Central Station of the capital, direct trains depart from it literally every 10 minutes.
Zaandam is the second train stop from the Central Station of the capital, direct trains depart from it literally every 10 minutes.
After 10-15 minutes, having paid 2.90 EUR (a ticket for the first class of carriages costs 4.80, but is there any point in spending money on such a short trip?), You will arrive at the place. You can also take a train to Zaandam at the Sloterdijk station (next to the metro station of the same name, “Sloterdijk”). In this case, you will need to get off at the next stop. Your trip will be even faster and will cost 2.50 EUR.
If you take the Sprinter train, you can also take it to the Zaanse Schans. To do this, you need to drive 2 more stops from Zaandam and get off at Koog-Zaandijk station (pronounced Koog-Zaandik). It will take another 5 minutes and 3.50 EUR. You can check the type of train here.
Connexxion buses no. 92 and no. 94 leave from the bus station in Amsterdam (located to the left of the train station) and take you to the center of Zaandam (Peperstraat stop) or to the train station there. From the same metropolitan bus station, direct buses leave for the Zaanse Schans, their route number is 91, the journey time is about 40 minutes.
The most romantic and expensive way to get to the Zaanse Schans is by boat. You can rent a boat in Amsterdam and this pleasure will cost from 55-60 EUR per hour.
How to navigate and move around the city
At the train station in Zaandam or Zaanse Schans, you can see vending machines with city maps. Take it, do not be shy, they are free and very detailed. Getting to the main attractions is very easy. However, it is difficult to get lost without a map. For example, there are signs everywhere from Koog Zaandik to Zaanse Schans, so you can easily walk east from the train station past the chocolate factory (the smell is amazing!) to the end of Stationsstraat, then turn left, then right at the crossroads, and then through river over the bridge. Everything, you have reached the goal, it takes longer to talk than to go. If, however, the walking route does not seem attractive, follow the signs to the free ferry, which will bring you to the Zaanse Schans. Well, in Zaandem, traces of blue color generally lead to the main city attraction.
Cuisine and restaurants of Zaandam
It’s hard not to get hungry after a day of exploring the fresh air at the Zaanse Schans Museum. The park administration took this into account and there are several cafes and restaurants in the village where visitors can eat. De Hoop op d’Swarte Walvis, De Kraai and the Zaans Museum Café serve tea and coffee with great pastries and wonderful views. And, of course, you can always buy bread at a local bakery, cheese at a cheese factory, mustard at Albert Hein’s first store (now a giant supermarket chain) and dine with all this splendor right on the grass. In Zaandam itself, there are also many places where you can eat. Separately, I would like to highlight Robby’s, rock and blues cafe Fishline, Lapaix and the Blacksmith pub, located in a former forge.
Shopping and shops
There is simply no better place to buy real, authentic Dutch souvenirs than the Zaanse Schans. Here, each museum, each mill has its own shop. Here you can buy cheese (where without it!) made according to the old technology, fragrant bread and sweets made in the In den Gecroonde Duyvekater bakery, as well as delicious local mustard (try it with cheese). Pay attention to clothes and accessories made of hand-woven fabric, ceramic products, dolls and wooden shoes turned in your presence, antiques and, of course, models (including working ones) of windmills.
Entertainment and attractions in Zaandam
The most interesting tourist attraction in Zaandam is, of course, the House of Peter I, where he lived during his two visits. Almost two centuries later, another stone building was built above the house to protect the wooden building from merciless time. From the city railway station to this museum about 15 minutes walk, entrance is paid, 3 EUR per adult, there are Russian-language excursions on weekends. In the center of the city there is a monument to the Russian Tsar-carpenter. In addition, in Zaandam for 7 EUR you can visit the city museum, which contains paintings, photographs and other exhibits reflecting the history and culture of the region.
Having carefully examined the city, it’s time to move to the Zaanse Schans open-air museum. Entrance to its territory is free, but you will have to pay for a thorough inspection of some objects. Perhaps it would be more profitable not to buy tickets separately to each of the numerous museums of the park (among them the Klomp Museum, the Clock Museum, the paint mill, the mill-sawmill and many others), but to purchase a special museum card at the information center for 15 EUR (10 EURfor kids). It gives you the right to visit many of them for free, and also provides a discount on some products in local souvenir shops. But even if you decide to limit yourself to a walk along the Zaanse Schans, you will not be bored. The cozy atmosphere of antiquity, beautiful landscapes and windmills, which inspired even Claude Monet, will not leave indifferent even the most demanding visitors.