Public transportation makes the historic working windmills at Zaanse Schans an easy day trip by train or bus from Amsterdam. Restaurants, museums, and traditional workshops are further attractions.
Zaanse Schans is a very popular day-trip destination from Amsterdam. The main attractions here are the historic, working windmills but further historic buildings organized like an open-air museum are further attractions. Easy public transportation (bus or train) as well as numerous tour bus trips make for fast transportation from Amsterdam.
Public Transportation (Bus& / Train) to Zaanse Schans in Holland
Zaanse Schans can be reached from Amsterdam Centraal (central train station) by bus or train within less than an hour.
Buses are the easiest way to reach Zaanse Schans from Amsterdam. Connexxion Bus (Line 391) connects Amsterdam four times per hour in 40 minutes with Zaanse Schans the final stop. Bus 391 is also referred to as the Industrial Heritage Line and departs from platform L (and from nearby Prins Hemdrikkade) at Amsterdam Central Station. A single ticket is €6.50 but a better deal is the day ticket (Dagkaart Zaanstreek) for €11.50 that is valid all day in the Zaan region and include buses to and from Amsterdam. Tickets are available from the driver while other passes and the OV-Chipkaart are also accepted.
In summer, and during some vacations, the direct bus 891 connects Amsterdam station and Zaanse Schans in 20 minutes.
Trains from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans are slightly faster but involve a slightly longer walk at the destination, which is not a bad option as visitors enjoy a beautiful panorama view of the windmills from the modern road bridge across the river. From Amsterdam Centraal, use the sprinter train in the direction of Uitgeest and get off at Zaanse Schans, Zaandam (usually the fourth stop). The train takes only around 18 minutes (up to four times per hour) but it is a further ten-minute walk from the station to the windmills.
Zaanse Schans Visitors Information: Opening Hours and Tickets
Zaanse Schans is laid out like a real town and although it resembles an open-air museum, the complex itself is not really a museum in itself. Like a normal town, admission to most of the site is completely free.
The museums and mills at Zaanse Schans set their own opening times and days. Admission fees range from €1 to €5 per site with the mills generally €4 each.
Many sights at Zaanse Schans are closed on weekdays during winter and on Mondays throughout the year. (Much of the Netherlands are closed on Monday mornings.)
During summer, opening times are generally longer with most sites open during weekdays too especially during school holidays. The best days to see the windmills turning are Saturdays.
Restaurants at Zaanse Schans near Amsterdam, Holland
Zaanse Schans sports two interesting restaurants in seventeenth-century buildings. The Restaurant De Hoop op d’Swarte Walvis (literally, hoping for the black whale) serves gourmet food in a rather elegant, formal setting.
In contrast, Restaurant De Kraai (the crow) is informal and family friendly. De Kraai serves smaller meals and snacks in an Old Dutch setting. Always popular are the huge pancakes (pannenkoeken) – these crepes are at least 12″ (30 cm) in diameter and served with sweet or salty toppings.
Zaanse Schans is a very popular day-trip destination from Amsterdam, as is Kinderdijk with 19 working windmills near Rotterdam. This is not surprising, as historic windmills are with flower bulb fields probably the most typical rural Dutch scene. If traveling to Holland during spring, do visit Keukenhof, the most fantastic flower park planted annually near Lisse and a wonderful day-trip destination from Amsterdam.
See also Working Windmills at Zaanse Schans in North Holland for more information on the windmills at Zaanse Schans.
Public transportation is relatively easy and allows for maximum flexibility but numerous tour bus excursion trips to Zaanse Schans are available from Amsterdam with a combination tour including Volendam and Marken also a good option.