The Netherlands with Kids: Zaanse Schans

The Netherlands with Kids
Our previous day in the Netherlands with our kids had been a success! Both our girls had slept pretty well and we were ready for our next adventure.
Zaanse Schans is a living history open air museum located just 30 minutes outside of Amsterdam. In 1961, historic windmills and houses were moved to this area and today Zaanse Schans is a popular tourist destination in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands with Kids
The different machines at the chocolate museum

Along with windmills, there is also a chocolate factory that one can tour, a museum that showcases the history of the area, and several small buildings where one can learn about cheese, clogs, and more.

The Netherlands with Kids
The Netherlands with Kids
We went through the museum first which then led right into the chocolate factory. The factory had all the different old-fashioned machines and we got to watch as chocolate and little biscuits were made. At the end, an employee gave each of us a biscuit that had been made there.
The Netherlands with Kids

We had lunch at the pancake restaurant and then went to check out one of the windmills that grinds spices. It was pretty neat seeing how the windmill worked and being able to smell the spices.

Then we checked out the cheese farm where we got to sample somewhere around 15 different cheeses. My favorite was a young goat cheese and we ended buying some to bring back home with us.

The Netherlands with Kids
The Netherlands with Kids
We bought a Zaanse Schans card which covered many of our activities. It was nice to have and we definitely got good use out of it.
One of our favorite things that we did was visit one of the oil windmills, De Bonte Hen. It was built in 1693 and has been the victim of fire and lightning strikes on several occasions. With each fire, it was put out in time and any damage was repaired.
This mill continues to produce oil on a regular basis today.
The Netherlands with Kids
Inside and at the top of a windmill

The volunteer went through and showed us the process to make the oil. It was definitely not kid-proof at all (I kept our baby in the stroller the whole time while Aaron held our toddler), but it was a really neat experience. There was also a ladder that we were able to climb to the top of the windmill!

The Netherlands with Kids
The view from the top of the oil windmill
The Netherlands with Kids

We also visited the weaving workshop where we learned about sail making and how people lived back then. The ladies there were so nice! They were able to get our toddler to smile (she was a little sad at the moment) and helped us get our double stroller inside.

The Netherlands with Kids
The weaving workshop – learning how sails were made.
The Netherlands with Kids
London sitting on a tiny Dutch bed

The clog workshop was fun to visit as well. There was a little museum with clogs of all occasions when we first walked in. Apparently, before a man proposed, he carved some very intricate designs onto some clogs and then gave them to the woman when he asked to marry her. There were also painted clogs, ice clogs, and even a pair of bejeweled clogs. We also got to watch a guy make a pair of clogs. He had a little machine that carved out the shoe and then he has to let the clogs dry for some time before they can be painted.

The Netherlands with Kids
Clogs! The top right are engagement clogs, in the middle below is a machine making clogs, and the bottom right is a pair of sparkly clogs.
The Netherlands with Kids
Once we finished up at Zaanse Schans, we drove to Volendam to get dinner at the port. We meant to go to the historic port, but ended up at the more modern day port. This ended up being a great thing though, because we had one of the best dinners ever at Smitbokkum.
The Netherlands with Kids

It was a beautiful restaurant with a beautiful view of the port. The food was amazing and everyone there was so nice to our girls. They even gave London a little chocolate and a magnet at the end of our visit!

We all got to try salted herring for the first time and we all really liked it. We also tried smoked salmon mousse (so, so good), Dutch shrimp, smoked sea bass, and regular smoked salmon. It was all fantastic. Our toddler ate a little of everything and liked it, our baby ate mostly bread and beets. 🙂

The Netherlands with Kids
It was an outstanding end to our day and to our trip in general. We had a great time in the Netherlands with our kids!
The Netherlands with Kids
Our view while we ate.
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