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Zaandam is a city in the Waterland and Zaan Region in the province of North-Holland in the Netherlands, just north of Amsterdam. It is just a short journey from Amsterdam. Zaandam is the largest of 7 towns in the municipality of Zaanstad. In this article you can also find information on the other towns.


The new Zaanstad City Hall, adjacent to Zaandam Railway Station

Zaanstad nowadays amalgamates a number of smaller towns and villages, which have their origins in Late Middle Ages. The Zaan river connects the centre of Noord-Holland to the IJ river and Amsterdam, and on both sides of the river villages were founded that soon became involved in all kinds of industrial activities. Most activity, however, was concentrated on the west side of the river, were a string of small towns grew into the first industrial area in the world in the 17th century, with hundreds of windmills producing all kinds of produce like flour, timber, paints and oil for the city of Amsterdam - at the time the largest port of the world. While the Zaan Region lost much of its importance in the 18th century, it became the centre of Dutch food industry in the late 19th and 20th century. For more information, see the article on the Waterland and Zaan Region.

Zaandam is the largest agglomeration in Zaanstad, with some 73,000 inhabitants; the total population of Zaanstad stands at approx. 150,000. The other towns are Assendelft, Koog aan de Zaan, Krommenie, West-Knollendam, Wormerveer and Zaandijk. The Zaan Region is slightly larger than Zaanstad, and also includes Oostzaan, Jisp, Wijdewormer, Wormer, Neck and Markenbinnen.

Zaanstad is an extremely interesting place from an historical and architectural perspective, but it probably doesn't count as a typical 'pretty' tourist destination in most guide books. Even then, a considerable number of traditional wooden houses and windmills can still be found in and around Zaanstad - including the world-famous Zaanse Schans open air museum - next to more recent 19th- and 20th-century industrial heritage.

  • Informatiecentrum Zaandam, Ebbehout 31 (on the west side of the railway station), +31 20 702 60 00. This tourist information centre has cycling maps, hiking paths and advice on where to go in the region.  edit

Get in[edit]

By train[edit]

Zaandam is only two stops from Amsterdam Central Station (travel time approx. 15 minutes, single ticket €2.60 with OV-chipkaart). Zaandam has direct Intercity connections to Alkmaar and Den Helder to the north, and to Nijmegen and Maastricht in the south. Sprinter lines connect Zaandam to the smaller towns in Zaanstad.

By car[edit]

Try to avoid driving to Zaandam during rush hour. The route to and from Amsterdam is one of the busiest in the Netherlands.

From the A10 Amsterdam ring road, take the A8 and follow the signs to Zaandam (approx. 30 minutes outside rush hour). Coming from the direction of Hoorn, follow the A7 south and then the A8 (approx. 30 minutes). From Alkmaar, follow the A9 to the south and then take the N246/N8 to Wormerveer (also 30 minutes).

By bus[edit]

Direct bus lines run from Amsterdam Central Station to Zaandam (R-Net 392 and 394), however, these are much slower than the train.

By bike[edit]

Cycling to Zaandam from Amsterdam is not difficult, though the route is not a very attractive one. Distance from Amsterdam Central Station approx. 14 km, cycling time 50 minutes.

By boat[edit]

In Summer, a regular ferry service runs between Amsterdam and Zaandam in the weekends (travel time 55 mins).

  • Zaanboot Ferry, Westzijde 78, Zaandam, +31 6 30 53 94 68 (), [1]. Jun-Sep Sa-Su 9:30AM - 6:30PM. €3 one-way ticket.  edit

Get around[edit]

The individual towns can be easily explored on foot, but to get around it is better to rent a bike, or to use public transport. Frequent bus and train services will get you everywhere, for time tables and tickets see the websites of NS or 9292.

Bike rental[edit]

  • Fietsverhuur Zaanse Schans (Zaanse Schans Bike Rent), Kalverringdijk 25, Zaandijk, +31 6 26 74 08 40 (), [2]. Daily 9AM - 5:30PM.  edit
  • Fietsenpakhuis, Vinkenstraat 46, Zaandam, +31 75 614 49 82 (), [3]. Mo 11AM - 7PM; Tu, We, Fr 8:30AM - 7PM; Th 8:30AM - 10PM; Sa 8:30AM - 6PM; Su 11:30AM - 7PM. €5 per day (deposit €50).  edit
  • Fietsverhuur Wormer, Nieuweweg 3, Wormer, +31 75 642 05 85 (), [4]. Mar-Oct Tu-Su 9:30AM - 6PM; Nov-Feb closed. €10 per day.  edit


When you leave the Zaandam railway station, the first thing you will notice is a brand new shopping esplanade. It is built in a modern interpretation of the traditional greenpainted Zaan style, with the city hall as its centerpiece. This architectural style has been met with mixed feelings by the locals, but it is certainly eye-catching. The Inntel Hotel (see Sleep section) on the east side of the station is even more daring, it looks as if three levels of traditional houses are stacked on top of eachother.

From the shopping malls, it is a 10 minute walk to the more lively part of town where you can find most of the pubs and restaurants, on the waterfront of the Zaan river. However, Zaandam compares unfavourably to Zaandijk, where you can experience more of the traditional atmosphere of the area.

  • Tsaar Peterhuisje (Czar Peter's House), Krimp 23 (within walking distance of Zaandam railway station), +31 75 681 0000, [5]. Tu-Su 10AM-5PM, Mo closed. This the small house where the Russian Czar Peter slept during his visit of the Zaan Region in 1697. It is one of the oldest wooden houses of the Netherlands, built in 1632. Czar Peter stayed here to learn the trade of shipwright - allegedly, he tried to do so pretending to be an anonymous worker, but the ruse did not work very well so his stay lasted only one week. The house is now surrounded by a stone building to protect it from the weather. €2, children €1.  edit
  • Blauwe Huis van Monet (Monet's Blue House), Hogendijk 87, [6]. This house was painted by Claude Monet during his stay in Zaandam in 1871. In 2014, it was restored to its original colour. The Stichting Monet in Zaandam organizes guided walking tours (€10, duration 1.5-2 hours).  edit


While most tourists will only visit the Zaanse Schans with its restored windmills and green wooden houses, it is actually only a 5 minute walk from there to cross the Zaan river and visit Zaandijk, which still retains much of its old village charm.


Since most tourists only come for the Zaanse Schans, the touristic infrastructure of Zaanstad is not very well developed, and visitors need to take some time to discover more of the area. If you go by bike, you can easily cycle through most of the area, including the surrounding countryside. Or you can take the boat and explore the Zaan river.

  • Zaanhopper Ferry, Westzijde 78, Zaandam, +31 6 30 53 94 68 (), [7]. May-Oct Fr-Su 10:30AM - 5:30PM. Regular boat service between Zaandam and Wormerveer. They also do boat rentals for larger groups, including a skipper. €6 one-way ticket.  edit


The shopping esplanade around the Zaandam railway station is the main area for shopping, with an ample selection of shops [8]. Shops in the Zaandam 'Stadshart' are opened on Sunday.

  • Loods 5, Pieter Ghijsenlaan 14B, Zaandam, +31 88 655 05 55, [9]. Daily 10AM - 5:30PM. Huge interior design store, selling the latest and most fashionable items. Loods 5 has become a household name in the Netherlands, and prices are affordable, though not cheap. They also have a section where you can buy paintings, and a nice cafeteria. If you like this kind of stuff, Loods 5 will keep you occupied for at least half a day. The store is located outside the city centre on a shopping estate, that cannot be reached by bus; it is a 20 minute walk from the Zaandam railway station.  edit


  • Panchos Cantina (Mexican dishes), Rozengracht 20-21 (Central Station - Pathé - parking lot - Panchos), 0756156350, [10]. 17:00-22:00 daily. Mexican restaurant. In the center of Zaandam. Traditional looks, good food en nice location. Close to the Central Station and directly in the city center. €20-25.  edit


  • Blacksmith, Hogendijk 46, +31 6 150-719-02. Small pub in the old workplace of a blacksmith. On the Hogedijk near the old harbour. A truly local pub with beer-tasting.  edit
  • Fishline, Zuiddijk 39, +31 75 615-86-12. W-Th 19:00-01:00, F-Sa 19:00-03:00, Su 12:30-01:00. Blues/rock pub at the waterfront, often with live music and jam sessions. They also have outdoor seating available.  edit
  • De Kade, Zuiddijk 9-11, +31 75 617-6972, [11]. Locally well known pop, rock and dance stage, with both DJs and bands performing live. In the centre of Zaandam at the Zuiddijk.  edit

Porto Fino is an Italian Restaurant just on the back of the main street. Close to the train station.

There are bunch of Turkish restaurants at the end of the main street. They are all Halal and delicious.


Hotel Inntel Zaandam
  • Inntel Hotel, Provincialeweg 102 (close to Zaandam railway station), +31 75 681-0171, [12]. Probably one of the weirdest buildings in the country. It's a new building, designed by architects Molenaar en van der Winden, that resembles about a dozen traditional Zaan houses plopped on top of each other. It looks odd, to say the least, but makes an impressive sight as you walk out of the railway station. It is a four-star hotel that has 160 rooms available. Free WiFi. €85-151.  edit


Get Out[edit]

The Zaanse Schans is north of Zaandam, but still in the Zaan Region. It is an open air museum that consists of old windmills and the original wooden houses. These windmills have approximately 1 million visitors each year. The Zaanse Schans Cycle Route takes you from Zaandam train station to the Zaanse Schans.

Routes through Zaandam
Amsterdam  S noframe N  PurmerendGroningen

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