Back to my days as tourguide! Currently I am writing blogs with touristic information for the Chinese website World Tourism Pictorial. Visiting Holland and in need of a tourguide? I would love to show you around!
The Zaanse Schans
Windmill village The Zaanse Schans is a world famous tourist attraction in the north of the Netherlands. This idyllic little neighbourhood in Zaandam depicts a Dutch village around 1750.
The initiative of the Zaanse Schans started in the 1960s as an attempt to preserve wooden historic windmills and houses. While economic growth in the 50’s and 60’s made way for many factories and apartment buildings, a dedicated group of local residents worried that the authentic houses and neighbourhoods would disappear completely. That is when the Zaanse Schans was founded, and historic windmills and wooden houses where transported by large trucks to their new destination. The reserve turned out to be one of the most popular tourist attraction of the Netherlands, with 1,8 million visitors in 2016. One of the unique features of this neighbourhood is that most houses are inhabited and the area is not only open to the tourists, but also to commuting locals, who, like me, have added the Zaanse Schans to their favourite biking route! The Zaanse Schans is particularly beautiful in the evening hours, when the streets grow silent and a Dickens-like scenery appears. I highly recommend the bed and breakfasts’ on the Schans and the boat tour from Amsterdam to the Zaanse Schans.
Wooden houses, old and new
Traditional 17th century houses are still to be found in the Netherlands. The picture below shows a traditional wooden house, probably built around 1700. The prosperity of the Dutch Golden Age (17th century) gave rise to stone buildings for merchants. Large warehouses and marketplaces were constructed, where before only, older churches and castles were made of stone. Yet, labourers still lived in wooden houses, at times with a facade made of stone, just to show off. Modern architecture took a swing a the turn of the century and brought us totally new buildings inspired by these green, authentic wooden houses. For instance the world famous Hotel Inntel in Zaandam. The picture shows me in front of this unique hotel designed by the Dutch architect Wilfried van Winden. It’s a delight to see this renewed interest in the architectural style of wooden houses! Though made of modern materials like eternit, these lovely green houses create a warm, nostalgic and typically Dutch cityscape. I’ll tell you more about wooden houses and windmills in my next blog on the Zaanse Schans. Read online at World Tourism Pictorial