Zaanse Schans and Zaandam

After two posts with a few wonderful places from Romania, it’s time to get back to my trip to the Netherlands, because I still have sooo many awesome places that I totally have to share with you guys 🙂 You never know when you’re going to go there, and I have many, many suggestions that you should add to your list 😀

Today I want to talk a little about our visit in Zaanse Schans and Zaandam, two colorful places, with an incredible architecture, old vs new, with enchanting windmills, a few canals, little boats, a small river that adds a peaceful soundtrack to the whole scene and a breathtaking setting that I’ve wanted to see for a very long time 😀

Let’s start with…  Zaanse Schans. To be honest, I don’t even know if I can find the right words to describe how beautiful this place really is. It’s basically an open-air museum, on the right shore of the Zaan river, where you could see the traditional architecture from this area, with magical green houses, superb windmills, museums and places where you could learn more about old Dutch crafts. You can also find here several boutique shops from where you could buy authentic souvenirs, like the famed Dutch clogs, hand-made goodies, or you could go home with a slice of cheese from the cheese farm.

We’ve arrived here by car, but if you’re going to travel to the Netherlands by plane, you could always reach Zaanse Schans by train, straight from Amsterdam’s central station. We’ve wanted to see this place both at sunset and at sunrise, so we’ve actually been here two times 🙂

During the summer the sunset is at 10pm in the Netherlands, and luckily for us, most of the tourists were already gone, so we could enjoy this place in silence, we’ve wandered around those little houses, glanced at the windmills from every angle, and we’ve seen one of the most incredible sunsets ever 😀 If you’ll arrive here this late you won’t find anything open, but the entire place was a lot more beautiful than it seemed during the day 🙂

We’ve stayed here for almost two hours, enjoying that beautiful sunset as the windmills were slowly moving and those colorful houses received an irresistible golden shade… it’s an image that we’ll surely remember forever.  We took a few photos of this paradise and then we’ve slowly traveled back to the hotel, but we were very, very tired after a busy day in Amsterdam and Zaanse Schans.

We didn’t manage to get up very early in the morning, and we’ve arrived back here only close to noon. As you can probably imagine, it was filled with tourists everywhere you could turn your head. We barely managed to take a few photos. If you really want to enjoy this place at its best and if you want to take a few photos with as few people as possible, you should arrive here very early in the morning, probably before 8am, or just before the sunset, after 8 or 9 pm. That’s during the summer, because during the winter the sun sets very early.

Ok, I think I’ve talked too much about Zaanse Schans. Let’s move on to the next place 🙂 In just a few minutes from Zaanse Schans you will get to Zaandam, one of the coolest cities in the Netherlands, a place that contrasts beautifully with the old architecture from Zaanse Schans, taking it to the 21st century, with so many eye catching buildings, inspired from the traditional architecture of the area.

Probably the most impressive building is right in the heart of the town, a high-end hotel that looks like a pile-up of traditional Dutch houses, each of them colored in bright shades of green or blue, with windows and roofs finished in white. It’s one of the most incredible buildings I’ve ever seen 🙂 Hope you like these pics just as much as I do.

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