Zaandam is packed with all things traditionally Dutch.
Zaandam is a quintessential Dutch town in the province of North Holland. It is located by the river Zaan and is just a 20 min drive from Amsterdam. Zaandam itself has water, countryside and most popular of all it has the Zaanse Schans. The Zaanse Schans is a neighborhood in Zaandam that is packed with all things traditionally Dutch. From Dutch shoe (Klompen) stores to Cheese Farms and more. The Zaanse Schans is the perfect stop to get a real taste of the Dutch experience.
The Windmills: The Zaanse Schans is mainly known for their gorgeous view of the windmills in the neighborhood. The most famous windmill is De Kat- which is the nearest windmill to the rest of the town. De Kat used to be a paint mill and can be toured for a small fee. You can walk by all the windmills following the trail by the water.
Grocery Museum Albert Heijn: If you have been anywhere in the Netherlands you know that the Albert Heijn is where most of the Dutch go for their grocery needs. The famous blue logo is found in almost all The Netherlands. This museum is in honor of Albert Heijn himself who started his grocery chain in Zaandam in 1887.
‘T Groene Pandje: This little restaurant is found in Zaandam city center. ‘T Groene Pandje (Gedempte Gracht 77, 1506 CC Zaandam, Netherlands) serves delicious and traditional Dutch cuisine. From Dutch pancakes (or pannekoeken) to broodje kroket (Croquette sandwich) and an assortment of other European food items. The place can get a little packed but when the sun is out they open the roof in the courtyard to add to the beautiful light ambiance of the space.
Bak Restaurant is a much different restaurant to ‘T Groene Pandje. Bak Restaurant (Van Diemenstraat 408, 1013 CR Amsterdam, Netherlands) is a renowned restaurant in between Zaandam and Amsterdam that serves delicious health fooda. Bak Restaurant is more of a fine dining experience with the restaurant interior being chic yet rustic and their food being flavorful and fresh.
The Blacksmith: This is old pub is a bit of a hidden gem and a favorite among locals. A historic spot that serves a variety of beers and a great atmosphere. The pub (Hogendijk 46, 1506 AH Zaandam, Netherlands) has been around for generations and prides itself on its history and homey environment.
Manzo’s Bar Bistro: Manzo’s (Dam 7, 1506 BC Zaandam, Netherlands) has cocktails and wine but also delicious entrees and cups of coffee. This is the perfect spot for a fun night out on the way back from exploring the Zaanse Schans. If you love tasty food, dim lighting and a fun evening with friends Manzo’s is the ideal place for you.
Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam: You can’t talk about hotels in Zaandam without mentioning the Inntel Hotel (Provincialeweg 102, 1506 MD Zaandam, Netherlands). This architectural masterpiece is recognized all throughout the Netherlands. With fun colors and what looks like stacked Dutch houses – this hotel is a favorite and relatively inexpensive at only $91 a night. The hotel is right by the water that flows through Zaandam city center.
Conscious Hotel Westerpark (Haarlemmerweg 10, 1014 BE Amsterdam, Netherlands) is between Amsterdam and Zaandam and is the perfect hotel for eco-friendly tourists. This Eco Hotel is inside a beautifully ornate mansion in middle of Westerpark. The hotel is fully powered by wind power and boasts a 100% organic breakfast. Hotel deal sites offer the hotel at $136 a night – not too bad to be green!
Klompenmakerij (Clog Factory) at the Zaanse Schans is a perfect way to learn a little bit about Dutch clog making- due to the little museum at the entrance. The Klompenmakerij also shows you how the classic wooden Dutch clogs are made by having craftsman mold them in store. Lastly, you can purchase your very own traditional Dutch wooden clogs that come in a variety of colors and designs.
Buter (Dutch Bakery and Chocolate Store) is the perfect way to end your visit to Zaandam. Located in the city center Buter (Gedempte Gracht 25, 1506 CA Zaandam, Netherlands) serves a variety of rich chocolates and traditional dutch sweets like boterkoek (buttercake) and gevulde koek (a cookie filled with almond paste). This is the perfect store to fill up on some Dutch sweets to bring back to friends and family.
Zaandam is a fun adventure and visiting the Zaanse Schans provides the idyllic Dutch experience. Visiting the town and neighborhood are a fun way to explore the Netherlands outside of Amsterdam and get in touch with Dutch history.