Zaanse Schans, on the outskirts of Amsterdam in Northern Holland, is a quaint settlement offering a sneak peek into Dutch rural life with windmills and houses standing tall from yore.
The Zaanse Schans encompasses seven museums and various handicraft factories that show how raw materials were procured and then processed
The Zaanse Schans gets its name from the river Zaan and its original function as a sconce (schans in Dutch) against the Spanish troops during the Eighty Years’ War of Dutch Independence. It is now an open residential area exhibiting the Dutch lifestyle from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Inge Kroonenberg, Manager Marketing & PR, Zaanse Schans, details the importance this settlement holds in the depiction of Dutch history and culture. “The Zaanse Schans is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque places in the Netherlands. An 18th and 19th century living and working community, the Zaanse Schans is a unique Dutch heritage site that impressively showcases the golden age of the Zaan region — Western Europe’s very first industrial area,” she says. Kroonenberg informs that the houses, shops, barns and windmills were moved here in the 1960s and 70s. The buildings came from all over the Zaan region, transported here by road using huge cranes or by water, using special pontoons.
The Zaanse Schans encompasses seven museums and various handicraft factories that show how raw materials were procured and then processed into the everyday things used by the Dutch. See how a piece of wood gets transformed into a clog, how barrels were made in the ancient times and see a local weave sails used on Dutch boats. For the connoisseurs with finer palates, there is a chocolate museum, a cheese museum and a bakery museum.
As far as visitor numbers are concerned, China is their biggest market in Asia. Kroonenberg says, “In 2015, 24 per cent of our 1.9 million visitors came from China/ Taiwan/Hong Kong and 11 per cent come from the rest of Asia (including India).” Also, the Zaanse Schans as a foundation currently has no trade partners in India. However, some of the companies who work with them recently visited Asia "to close some deals.”