Zaanse Schans, Holland

A modern time capsule

Zaanse Schans, Holland.

The Dutch invented the windmill.

That is absolutely not true. But Holland is one of the places where old wooden windmills are a central part of the culture, and they’ve become a pillar of the tourism industry. There are countless lists online titled “Most beautiful windmills in Holland”, or “Where to see windmills in Holland”. And Zaanse Schans tops most of those lists.

Zaanse Schans is the name of a neighborhood in the Dutch town of Zaandam, just north of Amsterdam. It looks super old-timey, but it’s actually only looked like this since the 1970s. Most of the windmills have been here for centuries, but the traditional buildings and homes were brought over by truck in the 1960s and 1970s to create a typical Zaan district town, for posterity I guess. And a couple of the windmills were rebuilt over the years
Most of the Zaanse Schans windmills are either oil mills or sawmills (shout out to the one paint mill!), but historically a lot of the windmills in Holland were used to drain the country’s wetlands. You can see why that would be helpful in this kind of an environment, where there’s a lot  more wet than land.
The town of Zaandijk across the river is super cute too — it’s one of the cleanest towns I’ve ever seen, and I kept telling Morade it looks more like a film set than any place people actually live. These houses were pristine!​
And a final fun fact: We kept seeing all these Dutch flags outside of homes with backpacks hanging from them. Apparently this means the Dutch kids living there passed their high school exams!

Later daze, Anca and Morade


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