The One with Zaanse Schans, The Netherlands


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Let the recaps begin!
Before we drove to the airbnb apartment in Amsterdam we stopped at the windmills at Zaanse Schans.

Fox's homework was to take pictures of himself with "Flat Stanley".  It was a fun activity his school class did while they were on Spring Break.
A little history about this place: Zaanse Schans is one of the highlights of the Netherlands, located just outside Amsterdam. It is a vibrant living and working community that dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries packed with wooden windmills, barns, houses, and museums built in the traditional Dutch wooden architectural style. These structures were relocated here piece by piece starting in 1961. The open air cultural museum is set in a unique peat meadow landscape typical of the low countries. Visitors can watch traditional crafts such as clog- and cheese-making or visit the windmills and other historic buildings. 

Darling Jane at Zaanse Schans. 
Fox being Fox | Fox trying on some fun oversize clogs

The is no fee to enter the area so we strolled across this cool little bridge and started checking out the sights.
First stop, the clog workshop!
The workshop holds one of the largest collections of wooden shoes in the Netherlands.
It featured all kinds of this unique footwear: painted and carved clogs, ice clogs with iron trimming, horse clogs, and even clogs from countries all around the world.
My favorite.
After browsing the displays waiting for our turn we got to enter the workshop and watch a pair of clogs get made. It was fascinating and Fox was mesmerized by it.
Browsing the gift shop. Clogs errwerr.
Charming building.
The highlight of Zaanse Schans, the windmills!
Next, we checked out the cheese house. This replica of an authentic Oostzaan farm is fully equipped for cheese making. What could be more Dutch than cheese? In the farm, the staff, who wear traditional clothing, give information about the different types of cheese. These include Gouda, goat’s cheese and herb cheeses. There are also demonstrations all day long in ten different languages. You can learn all about the different stages of cheese production as well as tasting these delicious types of cheese. The farm shop has all of these delicious cheeses for sale, and much more. De Catharina Hoeve farm was relocated to Zaanse Schans in the late 1980s.
I couldn't get enough of the windmills. Fox and Jane weren't exactly cooperating for the photo, but still a stunning sight!
Horses!
We walked out along the water to the windmills.
In the Zaan region, Western Europe’s oldest industrial area, there used to be more than 600 windmills running at the same time. At Zaanse Schans ten pairs of sail continue to turn. Visiting such a great wooden machine as it slogs away is an impressive spectacle. The mills are used for sawing wood and grinding oil, flower, spices and pigments for paint. Each of the industrial windmills at Zaanse Schans features clear information about the production process. Intriguing narrow staircases sometimes lead all the way up to the windmill roof.
The view across the water was top notch.
Darling house. I want to move in!
Darling-er house! 
Some houses had been turned into little shops.
Be still my heart!
After admiring all the windmills from afar, we paid a small admission fee and toured one of the windmills. We chose De Kat which is the only remaining working windmill the world which makes paint. A windmill has been in this spot since 1646! In fact, it is the only windmill now at Zaanse Schans originally located here. The others were moved from various locations to the museum.
We got to see it in action grinding chalk to make pigment for paint. We couldn't believe how much power the mill generated. The walls, floor, ceiling... everything was shaking!
So cool! Such an intricate piece of engineering.
We climbed up a suuuuper steep ladder to the second level to check out more of the innards. Fox loved it.
At De Kat you are able to go outside and walk along the balcony near the sails.
It was a wee bit windy, to say the least. Actually, almost everyday in the Netherlands was incredibly windy. It makes sense why windmills were such an important part of the industry here.
One last look at these awesome structures.
Up next: Amsterdam!
Paige Taylor Evans © // Quinn Creatives DESIGN