Zaanse Schans – The Windmill and Chocolate City

Zaanse Schans - The Windmill and Chocolate City | IngridZenMoments

For my 30th birthday, my boyfriend offered me the perfect gift: a trip to Amsterdam and tickets to a U2 concert! And since it was our second time in the city, we figured we would spend the time exploring other places outside the Dutch capital, such as Zaanse Schans – the Windmill City.

I have to admit that before this trip, I had no idea about what else could be seen and visited in The Netherlands apart from well Amsterdam, windmills, the tulip fields in May and of course, The Hague. After doing a little bit of research (you know, the usual ask a friend, ask a colleague, search on Pinterest kind of thing), I ended up with a plan. A very good plan.

My boyfriend was terrified and mortified he will have to walk the 20 – 30 km per day I usually do on city breaks, but he went along with it. After all, it was my birthday, right? The only thing complaining every now and then, was his walking app, alerting him that he has broken yet another record!

With that in mind, we set out for Zaanse Schans on a lovely Summer morning.

How to get there?

Zaanse Schans - The Windmill City | IngridZenMoments
Zaanse Schans – The Windmill City

Getting from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans could not be easier and it takes only 4 train stops and 20 minutes, making it the perfect way of spending half of day. You just need to go to Amsterdam Centraal and take the first train passing through Zaandijk – Zaanse Schans, where you will need to exit the train.

Make sure to buy a ticket from the train station in Amsterdam, it will cost you 4,2 EUR one – way, and don’t forget to validate it before getting on the train. 

What to do in Zaanse Schans – The Windmill City?

Ok, so you took the train, got off at the right station, asked the nice guy in the coffee shop how to find the windmills and you are on your way to …well…this small Paradise. The first thing that stroke me since I step foot on the main street leading to the windmills of Zaanse Schans was the smell. Yes, you read it right, the smell! Oh, what a wonderful smell that was!

Zaanse Schans - The Windmill City | IngridZenMoments
Crossing over the bridge in Zaanse Schans

This is one of the few times when I wished cameras could record also the smell of a place. In this little fairy tale city, the air was filled with chocolate dust! I felt like opening my mouth wide and take all the air in, without risking of gaining any weight! And I really did it, forgot I was actually turning 30 not 13, even encouraging my boyfriend to do the same!

Zaanse Schans - The Windmill City | IngridZenMoments
The first windmill will wait for you and surprise you right around the first corner of the street

And now to answer the question you are asking yourself: where did the smell come from? Well, as you might know, The Netherlands used to be a great (the greatest for a period) colonial power in the world, thus bringing large amounts of spices on water from different distant places such as Indonesia. You’ve guessed it, in Zaanse Schans you will find a chocolate and cocoa factory and a chocolate museum.  Unfortunately, when we got there, the museum was closed but still got to see the demonstrations people make in all the small shops in town, but maybe you will be luckier than us and get to see the real deal 🙂

Zaanse Schans - The Windmill City | IngridZenMoments
Chocolate and cocoa display

Sit down and sip a cup of hot chocolate! I have to admit I almost missed this, choosing to drink a glass of prosecco instead, but luckily someone else was smarter and made me try the cocoa. And boy I’m happy I did it! Never have I tasted something similar, so silky, so dense, with such an intense taste! Make sure to try it!

Zaanse Schans - The Windmill City | IngridZenMoments
The little perfect house across the…water from when we stopped for a hot chocolate

Drink your chocolate and walk around on the small streets between the waters, admire the view, the flowers in bloom so beautifully colored, the old windmills (you can even visit some of them, free of charge, get to see how people used to live in the 18th century and what the windmills were used for).

Make sure not to miss the cheese museum, having a chance to taste all sort of cheese variety, the clog workshop where you will have a tough job choosing between hundreds of types and colors of clogs, the bakery museum, and the fisherman’s cottage.


Zaanse Schans - The Windmill City | IngridZenMoments
The fisherman’s cottage
Zaanse Schans - The Windmill City | IngridZenMoments
Clog Museum
Zaanse Schans - The Windmill City | IngridZenMoments
Clog Museum
Zaanse Schans - The Windmill City | IngridZenMoments
Stroll around the beautiful windmill village

Opening Hours

Before planning a day in Zaanse Schans, the windmill village, you might want to check out the timetables for all the museums, cafes and restaurants, and you can do that by accessing this link.

What stroke me the most?

Apart from the beauty of the houses? Yes, they are just stunning, straight out of a story.Zaanse Schans - The Windmill City | IngridZenMoments

Zaanse Schans - The Windmill City | IngridZenMoments

Zaanse Schans - The Windmill City | IngridZenMoments

Zaanse Schans - The Windmill City | IngridZenMoments

I guess you got my point 😀 But the thing that stroke me the most was the moving bridge. I had never before seen something similar! How traffic stopped for the bridge to open like a gate and the ship to pass through it. Amazing!

Zaanse Schans - The Windmill City | IngridZenMoments
Bridge opening
Zaanse Schans - The Windmill City | IngridZenMoments
The guilty boat, stopping the traffic

So here it is, my perfect day at Zaanse Schans, the Windmill and Chocolate City. What have I missed? What should I have done more? Hit comment below and let me know!

Zaanse Schans - The Windmill City | IngridZenMoments

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22 Replies to “Zaanse Schans – The Windmill and Chocolate City”

  1. It looks like something straight out of a fairy tale! But regardless of the beautiful architecture, you had me as soon as you mentioned ‘chocolate’!! Thanks for sharing this little place I had never heard of. Mel

    1. It sure felt like stepping into a fairy tale! I wasnt’ aware of the chocolate part before going there and it sure was a nice surprise 🙂 Thank you very much for dropping by!

  2. you are very happy!!! Netherlands is a beautiful country

    1. Thank you very much! I have indeed understood that it sure is a lovely country!

  3. Happy belated birthday! Sounds like such an awesome gift for turning 30 haha I’m getting ideas for when that comes for me. Also the place looks amazing! Especially intrigued by the chocolate museum/tour. Did you have any favorite pieces? Did they have any unique ways of preparing it?

    1. Ha ha, thank you very much! It sure was the perfect gift for me 🙂 Unfortunately we did not get the chance to visit the chocolate museum since it was closed on the day we were there, but there was this small coffee schop where they had a demonstration table and they showed people how cocoa powder and chocolate are made. And afterwards you could of course buy a drink or chocolate to bring back home.

  4. This place looks like it embodies all the things I imagine when I think of the Netherlands! Sounds like a great stop outside of Amsterdam!

    1. it is 🙂 And it is so close by that I think anyone spending some days in Amsterdam should pay it a visit.

  5. I’ve been to Holland many times as I have family there, and I vaguely remember going to this windmill city as a child! I would love to go back as an adult – really does look like a charming place!

    1. You should! 🙂 It is the perfect way of spending a few hours of onw day, trust me you won’t regret it

  6. yess! I love the Zaanse Schans! I live in Amsterdam and in the NL for 7 years and only made it there last year, it is so cute.. I just love the green color of the houses. They also sell delicious mustard there… which reminds me I need to go back and buy some!

    1. Ha ha, I have to admit I was no aware about the mustard, wish I’ve known that earlier 🙂 But enjoy the stroll through the beautiful colored houses!

  7. I really love the Netherlands, I used to live there for one year but, shame on me, I’ve never visited Zaanse Schans! I love windmills and I’d like to explore this amazing village! I’ve been to another windmills village tho, called Kinderdijk, a little bit more on the south…simply amazing! thanks for sharing this beautiful experience 🙂

    1. Oh yes, I had also read and seen some amazing pictures from Kinderdijk, but I guess Zaanse Schans was closer to Amsterdam. I would love to go back to the Netherlands and pay also Kinderdijk a visit, together with other still undiscivered places. Thank you for the comment!

  8. What a cool town! I’d love to go to the Netherlands one day and this town sounded so idyllic! I could go for a hot chocolate from there right now!!

    1. I am sure your dream will come true soon and you will have the chance to sip on a creamy hot chocolate in this beautiful little city!

  9. Wow! This is a very informative and interesting guide. Love your photography too. Thank you!

    1. Thank you very much! Glad you found it interesting and liked it 🙂

  10. Beautiful beautiful beautiful. I’m trying to decide on my next destination right now, and I’ve narrowed it down to Netherlands, Denmark, or Iceland. This post may have made my decision a little easier though…..windmills and chocolate? How do you beat that?

    1. Ha ha, I hope you have made out your mind by now, but I am sure whichever destination you will choose, you will have a blast! The Netherlands in indeed a perfect blend between idilic locations, small beautiful towns and to die for sweets 🙂

  11. First of all, happy belated!!!!!!! Seems like you definitely had a great celebration and how perfect is this trip for a birthday gift! The houses at the windmill village are so charming and cute. Amsterdam’s been on my bucket list for awhile now and this just makes me wanna book a flight there ASAP!

    1. Thank you very much! Yep, I feel you. I don’t know why for a long time I was not very drown by this country (maybe because I though nothing could come close to Italy), but after this recent trip there I totally fell in love with these places. I think you should start planning a trip and let yourself seduced 🙂

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