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Zaanse Schans - Dutch history on the river Zaan

 It's been a while since my last post in March. Despite the pandemic, in May - June, when the restrictions loosened up, I started to go on short trips in Netherlands to explore the nature and iconic places, such Zaanse Schans.

You may wonder why I waited so long to visit this place. Well, I've never been a big fan of crowded places, and according to the statistics, Zaanse Schans attracts nearly a million visitors per year and it's one of the Netherlands' best loved attractions.

I seized the moment and when I visited the place it was almost deserted, for my own content. Additionally, I did a return journey with my bicycle! From Amsterdam Oost (where I live), is approximatively 20km one way. The route includes a ferry.

I took the ferry from Veer Hempontplein because I stopped in West to surprise my friend with a delicious cheesecake that I baked the night before. And also this route went through Zaandam!

I had to stop to capture this
Who let the ducks out!
This is not the best photo of Zaandam. I was in the middle of the bike lane and I had to take a quick pic. I wanted to go back but at return I took a different route. This reminds me, I should go back to Zaandam for a visit!
The famous architecture in Zaandam
Once arrived at the destination, I parked the bike and started walking down the paths. What we see today at Zaanse Schans is how a living and working community in the Zaan district looked back then, in the mid-19th century: farmsteads, paths, wooden houses, warehouses and windmills, ditches and fields. 
Zaanse Schans was founded on 12th September 1961, with the aim to promote and to create a typical Zaans residential area. Several buildings were transported to the area by water and road.
If you are interested to learn the history of every house and windmill you should check this resource: https://www.dezaanseschans.nl/en/history/
Each windmill, shop, house tells its own story. There, centuries of memories are like footprints of history resounding in each chamber. Hundreds of years ago people slept, cooked, laughed, cried, loved, argued, were born and died within those walls. 
The economy is suffering from the lack of tourists due to the pandemic, but my inner self is happy walking alone down the history lane which this place keeps alive.
The characteristic clatter of wooden clogs on cobblestones would never have existed without the artisans who crafted this unusual footwear. The Old Dutch handicrafts have also brought there the typical Dutch cheeses and the Delft Blue decorative style. I've encountered various different artisans as I strolled through the Zaanse Schans. There’s a great range of products available in the craft shops, for a wonderful souvenir of this special past. I'm proud to say I left from Zaanse Schans with a beautiful leather purse!
Souvenir from Zaanse Schans
Modern wooden clogs
On the foot, there is so much more to see!

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