Zaanstad Tourist Attractions
Commune: ZaanstadThe commune of Zaanstad or Zaanstreek, now a highly industrialized and densely populated area 10km/6mi north of Amsterdam, takes in a number of what were originally separate settlements on or near the river Zaan. The first sawmills were built here in the 16th century and promoted the development of the woodworking and shipbuilding industries.
Tsar Peter's House
It was at Zaandam that Tsar Peter the Great of Russia spent four months in 1697 under the name of Peter Mikhailov in order to learn the crafts of carpentry and shipbuilding - a visit which provided the theme for Albert Lortzing's opera "Zar und Zimmermann" ("Tsar and Carpenter"). His stay is commemorated by the Czaar-Peterhuisje at Krimp 24 and the Tsar Peter Monument in the Damplein.
Zaandam - Zaanse Schans Open-air Museum
Just north of Zaandam is the Zaanse Schans open-air museum, a little corner of "picturebook Holland": a reconstruction of a Zaanland village of around 1700. The museum was established in 1949 by the Stichting Zaanse Schans, a private organization concerned to preserve old buildings threatened by industrial development. Typical old wooden houses and windmills of the 17th and 18th centuries were taken down, re-erected here and carefully restored. The reconstructed village gives a very vivid impression of life in earlier centuries, largely because almost all the houses are lived in.At the beginning of the 18th century there were about 500 windmills in the Zaanstreek area. Half of them ground grain, and also mustard, oil-seeds, cocoa, spices and tobacco; the others were sawmills, for in the 17th century the woodworking industry played a major part in the economy of the area. Few now survive; but at Zaanse Schans there are an oil mill, a paint mill, a mustard mill and a sawmill. Other features include a cheese-making dairy, an old bakery, a grocer's shop, a clog-maker's workshop, a pewterer's workshop and the Zaans Uurwerken Museum (Clock Museum), with a collection of old Dutch clocks.Visitors can take a very attractive boat trip on the Zaan, with the old houses and windmills as a charming backdrop.
Other features of interest in Zaanstad are the Oud-Katholieke Kerk (Old Catholic Church; 1695) at Papenpad 12; an old sawmill, Held Josua, behind the station; and a watermill of 1650, De Ooievaar, on the south side of the Juliabrug. Near the locks on the Zaan are the two Accijnshuisjes (early 18th C.), where tolls were levied on ships entering and leaving the port.
The Windmill Museum (Molenmuseum) in Koog aan de Zaan presents a very informative picture of the windmills of the 17th and 18th centuries with the help of scale models and documents.
The Zaanlandse Oudheidkamer contains costumes, toys, model ships and other 17th and 18th C. objects and is well worth a visit. There is also the Weefhuis (weaving house) or "house with the picture garden" (39 Lagedijk), the "Death" corn mill (29 Lagedijk), built in 1656, and the Town Hall (104 Lagedijk), an old merchant's house, with antique furniture, frescoes and a collection of stoves.Zaandijk is a small village. Of interest here is the Zaanlandse Oudheidkamer.