Ok. So if you can't tell, we kind of have a thing for day trips. It took us a while to get here, but we finally made it. Day trips with just two were easier to plan than day trips with a baby. But, so is life trying to plan a holiday with an infant. Getting to Zaanse Schans is only about 20 minutes by train from Amsterdam Centraal and a perfect way to spend a day out with the kidoos.
A little history on Zaanse Schans and why you should visit:
So no visit to the Netherlands is complete without seeing some windmills, right? Well there's no better place to do it than here. Here you can visit historical windmills all lined up in one easily walkable row in a beautiful quaint Dutch village.
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Windmills to visit include:
- De Huisman (The Houseman), a mustardmill
- De Gekroonde Poelenburg (The Crowned Poelenburg), a sawmill
- De Kat (The Cat), a dyemill
- Het Jonge Schaap (The Young Sheep), a sawmill
- De Os (The Ox), an oilmill
- De Zoeker (The Seeker), an oilmill
- Het Klaverblad (The Cloverleaf), a sawmill
- De Bonte Hen (The Spotted Hen), an oilmill
Have you ever heard of Albert Heijn? I'm sure if you've ever been in the Netherlands and on holiday with an infant then you've needed baby supplies and run into a grocery store. Well there's an excellent chance that store was an Albert Heijn. Well the very first Albert Heijn that ever existed is right there in Zaanse Schans. Pretty cool to see where it all began. Plus you can still buy candies and other things there.
On top of that, there are some really cool museums on site. We had a ton of fun exploring the Zaans Museum and learned a great deal about the history of the region. As early as the 17th century the Zaans region was one of the most important industrial areas of Western Europe. Here you can learn all about the different things that the area produced over the years and see how the number of windmills in the area changed over time. Very interactive with a free audio guide that is included with the price of admission. It was completely stroller accessible as well which was a bonus. Tons here for the kiddos to interact with. If you're like us and doing your day trips with a baby instead of a toddler or older child this is still a great museum to explore. This trip can certainly be more of a holiday with an infant rather than for an infant. Although if you want to make it more for, just let the little one help you with some of the games.
Speaking of games, my favorite part of the museum may have been the games in the Verkade Pavilion. In the Pavilion, you will find yourself in a factory from the early 20th century where there are authentic machines from the 1930s continuing to run. In the particular game that I played, I got to be a "Verkade Girl" and try to put chocolates into boxes on an interactive screen. Not bad for playing while wearing a baby, right? Anyone else care to share their score? The screens were brightly colored and kept L entertained while I played. I call that a win-win!
How to get there:
Using public transportation, take a train to the stop "Koog-Zaandijk." From there just follow the signs. It's about a 15 minute walk from the train station across the bridge to the town.
The main entrance is where the Zaans Museum is located and where the tour busses drop visitors off. Here at the Zaans Museum you can also buy the Zaanse Schans Card. The card provides several discounts on admissions for museums, windmills and purchases at shops.
If you need a restroom, you'll have to take a walk from the train station into town to find one. They're (as of right now) 50 cents to use and you can find the locations listed on the maps showing you where everything is in town.
Tip: If you're at the Zaans Museum, they have a restroom that is free to paying visitors of their museum or restaurant
This is one place that I would recommend having the baby carrier along with the stroller. There are some narrow walkways and some stairs. While it's very stroller accessible, you're going to be able to explore the windmills better with a carrier. And since your day trip is with a baby rather than without, you want to make it as easy and comfortable as possible for you both.
While the day that we went it was mostly adult tour groups and not many families, no one had a problem with having a child around. Maybe holidays with an infant is becoming the norm now! I didn't see if there were any places to change the baby as we had the stroller with us and changed her in that. We also used that as her high chair when it was time to eat.
I'm so glad that we finally made it to Zaans Schans. Super quick trip from central Amsterdam, great for the whole family, and budget friendly. Feel free to tell us about your experience in the comments below!
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