Zaandam: A modern city steeped in history

Today, the Zaanstreek area is steeped in history, offering windmills, cheesemaking factories and iconic Dutch fishing villages that have remained virtually untouched for centuries. At the heart of the region is Zaandam, a modern city steeped in history and culture.

Modern-day Zaandam blends the old with the new and finds innovative ways to repurpose and showcase its industrial character. Perhaps the first sign you’ll see of this is when marvelling at the eye-catching façade of the Inntel Hotel Zaandam, a stack of almost 70 individual Zaan houses in four colours of the traditional Zaan green.

The Inntel hotel in Zaandam

What to see and do in and around Zaandam

Another great way to trace a momentous episode in the city’s history is at the Czaar Peterhuisje (Tsar Peter house). Built in 1632, it is one of the oldest wooden houses in the Netherlands and was once home to Tsar Peter the Great, who stayed in Zaandam in 1697. Another famous guest of the city was French impressionist painter Claude Monet, who spent four months in Zaandam in 1871. Visit the MonetAtelier to see the Zaan region through the eyes of the artist and see some of the art he created while living in the area.

There's plenty of things to see and do nearby Zaandam as well. Volendam, Marken and Monnickendam are popular with tourists. These places hark back to times of more honest crafts, showcasing the traditional skills the region was famous for: shipbuilding, fishing and cheese making. You can also experience the heritage of the Dutch industrial revolution in the area, and perhaps the best place to do this is at Zaanse Schans, one of the Netherlands' best loved attractions. It offers a perfectly preserved glimpse into the Netherlands' industrial past with its spectacular windmills and traditional houses, warehouses and workshops.

Amsterdam Zaanse Schans windmill day trip, Merijn Roubroeks

Zaanse Schans

It takes around 15 minutes to get from Amsterdam to Zaandam. For the best route see Google Maps. To make the most of your day exploring, take advantage of the Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket, which offers unlimited travel on buses, trams, trains and metros in the Amsterdam Area for 24 hours for just € 19.50.