Zaanstad Netherlands

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Description: Open source travel guide to Zaandam, featuring up-to-date information on attractions, hotels, restaurants, nightlife, travel tips and more. Free and reliable advice written by Wikitravellers from around the globe.

Zaanstad nowadays amalgamates a number of smaller towns and villages, which have their origins in Late Middle Ages. The Zaan river connects the centre of Noord-Holland to the IJ river and Amsterdam, and on both sides of the river villages were founded that soon became involved in all kinds of industrial activities. Most activity was concentrated on the west side of the river, where in the 17th century a string of small towns grew into the first industrial area in the world. Hundreds of windmills were employed to produce all kinds of produce like flour, timber, paints and oil for the city of Amsterdam - at the time the largest port of the world. While the Zaan Region lost much of its importance in the 18th century, it became the centre of Dutch food industry in the late 19th and 20th century. For more information, see the article on the Waterland and Zaan Region.

Zaandam is the largest agglomeration in Zaanstad, with some 73,000 inhabitants; the total population of Zaanstad stands at approx. 150,000. The other towns are Assendelft, Koog aan de Zaan, Krommenie, West-Knollendam, Wormerveer and Zaandijk. The Zaan Region is slightly larger than Zaanstad, and also includes Oostzaan, Jisp, Wijdewormer, Wormer, Neck and Markenbinnen.

Zaanstad is an extremely interesting place from an historical and architectural perspective, but it probably doesn't count as a typical 'pretty' tourist destination. Even then, a considerable number of traditional wooden houses and windmills can still be found in and around Zaanstad - including the world-famous Zaanse Schans open air museum - next to more recent 19th- and 20th-century industrial heritage.

  • Informatiecentrum Zaandam. Ebbehout 31 ( on the west side of the railway station ), ☎ +31 20 702 60 00. This tourist information centre has cycling maps, hiking paths and advice on where to go in the region.  edit

Zaandam is only two stops from Amsterdam Central Station (travel time approx. 15 minutes, single ticket €2.60 with OV-chipkaart ). Zaandam has direct Intercity connections to Alkmaar and Den Helder to the north, and to Nijmegen and Maastricht in the south. Sprinter lines connect Zaandam to the smaller towns in Zaanstad.

Try to avoid driving to Zaandam during rush hour. The route to and from Amsterdam is one of the busiest in the Netherlands.

From the A10 Amsterdam ring road, take the A8 and follow the signs to Zaandam (approx. 30 minutes outside rush hour). Coming from the direction of Hoorn. follow the A7 south and then the A8 (approx. 30 minutes). From Alkmaar. follow the A9 to the south and then take the N246/N8 to Wormerveer (also 30 minutes).

Most of the Zaandam city centre has paid parking, and in some places there are limitations to parking time. The best option is to find a larger (covered) car park. See the website of the city of Zaanstad for more information (in Dutch only).

Direct bus lines run from Amsterdam Central Station to Zaandam (R-Net 392 and 394), however, these are much slower than the train.

Cycling to Zaandam from Amsterdam is not difficult, though the route is not a very attractive one. Distance from Amsterdam Central Station approx. 14 km, cycling time 50 minutes.

In Summer, a regular ferry service runs between Amsterdam and Zaandam in the weekends (travel time 55 mins).

  • Zaanboot Ferry. Westzijde 78, Zaandam. ☎ +31 6 30 53 94 68 ( ), [1]. Jun-Sep Sa-Su 9:30AM - 6:30PM. €3 one-way ticket.  edit

The individual towns can be easily explored on foot, but to get around it is better to rent a bike, or to use public transport. Frequent bus and train services will get you everywhere, for time tables and tickets see the websites of NS or 9292.

  • Fietsverhuur Zaanse Schans ( Zaanse Schans Bike Rent ), Kalverringdijk 25, Zaandijk. ☎ +31 6 26 74 08 40 ( ), [2]. Daily 9AM - 5:30PM.  edit
  • Fietsenpakhuis. Vinkenstraat 46, Zaandam. ☎ +31 75 614 49 82 (René ), [3]. Mo 11AM - 7PM; Tu, We, Fr 8:30AM - 7PM; Th 8:30AM - 10PM; Sa 8:30AM - 6PM; Su 11:30AM - 7PM. €5 per day (deposit €50).  edit
  • Fietsverhuur Wormer. Nieuweweg 3, Wormer. ☎ +31 75 642 05 85 ( ), [4]. Mar-Oct Tu-Su 9:30AM - 6PM; Nov-Feb closed. €10 per day.  edit

When you leave the Zaandam railway station, the first thing you will notice is a brand new shopping esplanade. It is built in a modern interpretation of the traditional greenpainted Zaan style, with the city hall as its centerpiece. This architectural style has been met with mixed feelings by the locals, but it is certainly eye-catching. The Inntel Hotel (see Sleep section) on the east side of the station is even more daring, it looks as if three levels of traditional houses are stacked on top of eachother.

From the shopping malls, it is a 10 minute walk to the more lively part of town where you can find most of the pubs and restaurants, on the waterfront of the Zaan river. However, Zaandam compares unfavourably to Zaandijk. where you can experience more of the traditional atmosphere of the area.

  • Tsaar Peterhuisje ( Czar Peter's House ), Krimp 23 ( within walking distance of Zaandam railway station ), ☎ +31 75 681 0000. [5]. Tu-Su 10AM-5PM, Mo closed. This the small house where the Russian Czar Peter slept during his visit of the Zaan Region in 1697. It is one of the oldest wooden houses of the Netherlands, built in 1632. Czar Peter stayed here to learn the trade of shipwright - allegedly, he tried to do so pretending to be an anonymous worker, but the ruse did not work very well so his stay lasted only one week. The house is now surrounded by a stone building to protect it from the weather. €2, children €1.  edit
  • Blauwe Huis van Monet ( Monet's Blue House ), Hogendijk 87. [6]. This house was painted by Claude Monet during his stay in Zaandam in 1871. In 2014, it was restored to its original colour. The Stichting Monet in Zaandam organizes guided walking tours (€10, duration 1.5-2 hours).  edit

While most tourists will only visit the Zaanse Schans with its restored windmills and green wooden houses, it is actually only a 5 minute walk from there to cross the Zaan river and visit Zaandijk, which still retains much of its old village charm.

Since most tourists only come for the Zaanse Schans, the touristic infrastructure of Zaanstad is not very well developed, and visitors need to take some time to discover more of the area. If you go by bike, you can easily cycle through most of the area, including the surrounding countryside. Or you can take the boat and explore the Zaan river.

  • Zaanhopper Ferry. Westzijde 78, Zaandam. ☎ +31 6 30 53 94 68 ( ), [7]. May-Oct Fr-Su 10:30AM - 5:30PM. Regular boat service between Zaandam and Wormerveer. They also do boat rentals for larger groups, including a skipper. €6 one-way ticket.  edit
  • Filmtheater De Fabriek. Jan Sijbrandsteeg 12, Zaandam. ☎ +31 75 631 19 93. [8]. This art-house cinema is housed in an old factory building. It also has a café on the Zaan riverside.  edit
  • Dam-tot-Dam-loop. [9]. The largest running event in the Netherlands, a 10-mile run from Zaandam to Amsterdam on the third Sunday of September. It attracts over 50,000 participants. €24.  edit
  • Ballorig. Mahoniehout 6, Zaandam. ☎ +31 75 631 53 48. [10]. Mo-Fr 9AM-6PM, Sa-Su 10AM-7PM. This large covered playground is the ideal place for toddlers - especially recommended on rainy days. €7.50 for kids over 1 year old; adults free.  edit

The shopping esplanade around the Zaandam railway station is the main area for shopping, with an ample selection of shops [11]. Shops in the Zaandam 'Stadshart' are opened on Sunday.

  • Loods 5. Pieter Ghijsenlaan 14B, Zaandam. ☎ +31 88 655 05 55. [12]. Daily 10AM - 5:30PM. Huge interior design store, selling the latest and most fashionable items. Loods 5 has become a household name in the Netherlands, and prices are affordable, though not cheap. They also have a section where you can buy paintings, and a nice cafeteria. If you like this kind of stuff, Loods 5 will keep you occupied for at least half a day. The store is located outside the city centre on a shopping estate, that cannot be reached by bus; it is a 20 minute walk from the Zaandam railway station.  edit

The Zaan Region was once known as the larder of the Netherlands, and in fact many foodstuffs that you can buy all around the country are made there. The largest supermarket store in the Netherlands, Albert Heijn, started in Zaandam and still has its main offices there, and they produce a biscuit covered with a layer of chocolate called Zaans Huisje. However, there are few foodstuffs around that could be called truly local (even when they would like you to believe differently in the tourist shops). The only exception is the duivekater. a traditional sweet bread eaten at Easter, Pentecost and Christmas.

Photogallery Zaanstad Netherlands:

Zaanstad City Hall | OpenBuildings
Zaanstad Travel and City Guide - Netherlands Tourism
Zaandam city hall, Zaanstad, The Netherlands | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

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Zaanstad / Netherlands / Aerial | HD Stock Video 589-378-276 ...
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The World's Best Photos of nederland and zaanstad - Flickr Hive Mind
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Zaanstad @ Architectural photographer Dirk Verwoerd from the ...

Zaanstad City Hall | OpenBuildings
EUROPE - Some pics every day - Página 455 - SkyscraperCity
sculpture, site specific sculptures and land art projects in cities.