Things to do in Zaandam

About Zaandam

The vibrant city of Zaandam is home to several must-see attractions, including the Zaanse Schans with its iconic windmills and traditional crafts, the Zaans Museum that delves into the industrial past of the region, and the Czaar Peter House, which gives visitors a glimpse into the life of Tsar Peter the Great. Don't miss the photogenic Inntel Hotel Zaandam with its unique architecture.
For family-friendly fun, head to the Zaanse Schans to experience historical Dutch life, the Zaans Museum for interactive learning, and take a leisurely stroll along the Zaan River to enjoy the scenic views. The Hembrugterrein also offers spacious areas for children to play and explore art installations.
The best outdoor activities in Zaandam include exploring the Zaanse Schans, enjoying a picnic or a bike ride along the Zaan River, and visiting the local markets for fresh produce and goods. The area around the Hembrugterrein is perfect for a relaxing walk amidst artistic surroundings.
The top indoor attractions in Zaandam include the rich educational exhibits at the Zaans Museum, the interactive Verkade Experience, and the enlightening Monet Atelier. For shopping and leisure, visit the Hermitage Zaandam shopping center.
The best tours in Zaandam cater to a variety of interests, from historical windmill tours at the Zaanse Schans to cultural walks through the city center, and relaxing river cruises along the Zaan. Each provides a unique perspective of the city's heritage and beauty.
The most visited museums in Zaandam are the Zaans Museum, known for its industrial and cultural history exhibits, and the Hembrug Museum, which focuses on military history. The Czaar Peter House also attracts many with its historical significance.
On rainy days, tourists can take cover by enjoying indoor tours such as the ones provided at the Zaans Museum and the Verkade Experience. Museum tours offer the perfect combination of education and entertainment, regardless of the weather outside.
Quick tours in Zaandam that last an hour or less include guided visits to specific windmills at Zaanse Schans, a short cruise on the Zaan River, and a concise walkthrough at the Czaar Peter House or Monet Atelier.

Best Things to Do In Zaandam

Delve into the quintessentially Dutch charm with a plethora of cultural and historical experiences.

Zaandam: River Zaan Cruises

What is it?
Leisurely boat cruises offering stunning views of Zaandam's waterfront and architecture.
Why you should go?
Glide along the serene River Zaan with a cruise that offers panoramic views of Zaandam's historic skyline. These cruises provide a unique perspective of the city's blend of traditional and modern design, making it an essential Zaandam activity. Alongside the visual journey, guests usually enjoy guided narration about the area's history and significance, which makes this one of the best Zaandam tours for visitors keen to combine relaxation with learning.

Zaandam: Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam

What is it?
A strikingly designed hotel that's become a prominent feature in the Zaandam skyline.
Why you should go?
Not just a place to stay, the Inntetel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam is a landmark in its own right, its façade consisting of a stack of traditional Zaan houses. The visually arresting architecture attracts photographers and architecture enthusiasts, making it a point of interest when considering the best places to visit in Zaandam. Its central location also places guests at the heart of the Zaandam experience.

Zaandam: Zaandam Market

What is it?
A vibrant local market offering fresh produce, delicacies, and Dutch specialties.
Why you should go?
The Zaandam Market is a feast for the senses where locals and visitors alike can indulge in the region's best offerings. From fresh stroopwafels to aromatic cheeses, the market stands as one of the fun things to do in Zaandam for foodies and culture seekers. It's also a great place to find unique souvenirs and gifts, reflecting the local lifestyle and gastronomy.

Zaandam: Molen van Sloten

What is it?
A fully operational windmill offering tours and a deep dive into Dutch milling history.
Why you should go?
Molen van Sloten might be a short trip away from central Zaandam, but its significance to the Dutch milling tradition cannot be overstated. Visitors can climb the windmill, learn about its workings, and understand the environmental importance of these structures. This attraction shines among the things to do in Zaandam for its educational value and interactive elements.

Zaandam: Hembrugterrein

What is it?
A former military site now repurposed as a creative hub for art, culture, and gastronomy.
Why you should go?
The Hembrugterrein stands out as an example of innovative land repurposing. This trendy hotspot houses artists' studios, hip eateries, and unique event spaces, wrapping up the range of what to do in Zaandam with a contemporary twist. Its lively atmosphere and ever-changing lineup of activities and exhibitions render it a dynamic destination for those looking to grasp the modern spirit of Zaandam.

Zaandam: Zaanse Schans

What is it?
Open-air museum displaying historic windmills and distinctive green wooden houses.
Why you should go?
Step back in time at the enchanting Zaanse Schans, famous for its collection of well-preserved windmills and houses from the 18th and 19th centuries. The site offers visitors the chance to experience traditional Dutch crafts, taste authentic local food and learn about the Zaan region's rich history. Whether admiring the scenic landscapes or exploring the artisanal workshops, Zaanse Schans guarantees a memorable addition to any list of best things to do in Zaandam.

Zaandam: Zaans Museum

What is it?
An engaging museum highlighting the industrial heritage of the Zaan region.
Why you should go?
The Zaans Museum serves as a cultural nexus celebrating the industrial revolution of the Zaan district. It offers interactive exhibits that explain the olden wind-powered manufacturing processes and provide insight into the making of traditional Dutch products such as cheese and chocolate. With curated collections that appeal to history enthusiasts and curious minds alike, the museum stands out as a significant spot for what to see in Zaandam.

Zaandam: Cathedral of St. Michael

What is it?
A historic Catholic church known for its stunning architecture and peaceful ambiance.
Why you should go?
The Cathedral of St. Michael, with its majestic towers and serene interiors, is not only a place of worship but also a testament to architectural splendor. The tranquility and the stained-glass windows tell stories of spiritual and artistic heritage, making it a reflective addition to Zaandam activities for those appreciating sacred artistry and seeking a respite from the bustling town.

Zaandam: Czar Peter House

What is it?
The historical dwelling where Russian Tsar Peter the Great once stayed.
Why you should go?
The Czar Peter House embraces a unique narrative, linking Zaandam with Russian history. This petit yet fascinating museum allows one to traverse through time and gain insights into Tsar Peter's endeavors in shipbuilding. The encounter with this cultural relic adds depth to the experience of places to visit in Zaandam and serves as a historical touchstone for international relationships of yesteryears.

Zaandam: Verkade Experience at the Zaans Museum

What is it?
An interactive exhibit within the Zaans Museum, dedicated to the legacy of the Verkade company.
Why you should go?
The Verkade Experience is a perfect blend of industrial nostalgia and interactive enjoyment. Visitors are invited to learn about the beloved Dutch brand Verkade through a multisensory exhibit, including original machinery and interactive stations. Ideal for families and anyone intrigued by Zaandam’s confectionery and biscuit-making history, it's a sweet staple among Zaandam excursions.

TOP-5 tours in Zaandam for first-time visitors

  • Discover the iconic windmills and get a taste of traditional crafts with one of the best Zaandam tours through the Zaanse Schans – a highlight among the things to see in Zaandam.
  • Embark on a culinary journey amongst local flavors and gastronomy, a top choice for fun things to do in Zaandam, exploring artisanal shops and quaint eateries.
  • Stroll along the scenic riverbanks and uncover the history behind Zaandam's famous green houses, offering a tranquil escape and enriching Zaandam activities.
  • Art enthusiasts can explore Zaandam's artistic side with a tour around the city's museums and galleries, delving into the local culture and adding to the best things to do in Zaandam.
  • Cap off the visit with an evening canal tour, experiencing the city’s charm from the water and rounding up the things to do in Zaandam in an unforgettable way.

Fun things to CNC Zaandam with kids

Zaandam offers a treasure trove of experiences that cater to the curiosity and enthusiasm of young explorers. One of the best places to visit in Zaandam with children is the Zaanse Schans, where they can watch traditional windmills in action and even see how wooden clogs are made. The interactive exhibits at the Zaans Museum are next on the list, providing educational Zaandam activities that delve into the rich history of the region's industrial past through hands-on displays and storytelling. Wrap up the day with a visit to the Hembrugterrein, a dynamic area offering vast outdoor spaces perfect for kids to play and explore. With artisanal ice cream shops and family-friendly events, it's ideal for rounding up the best Zaandam excursions that the whole family can enjoy.

Things to do in Zaandam with family

When it comes to family-friendly outings, Zaandam is brimming with attractions that appeal to all ages. A must-visit is the enchanting Zaanse Schans, where windmills dot the horizon and traditional Dutch crafts come to life. Children and adults alike can immerse themselves in the heritage of the Zaan region, with interactive experiences that are both fun and educational. Zaandam's rich chocolate and biscuit-making legacy can be savored at the Zaans Museum, which houses the Verkade Experience. Here, families can engage with the history of one of the Netherlands' most beloved brands. For those seeking leisurely Zaandam activities, the banks of the River Zaan offer picturesque spots for family picnics, with the gentle hum of boats creating a relaxing backdrop. This blend of cultural exploration and leisure time by the water ensures a memorable visit for everyone.

Free things to do in Zaandam

Zaandam, with its rich cultural tapestry, offers a variety of experiences that won't cost a dime. Meandering through the historic city center rewards visitors with sights of unique architecture and the chance to capture the iconic Inntel Hotel's façade, which merges traditional Zaan houses in a visual spectacle. Zaandam's town square, with its vibrant atmosphere, is another delightful spot where families can enjoy street performances and seasonal festivities. For nature enthusiasts, the banks of the River Zaan represent the perfect setting for a peaceful stroll or a leisurely bike ride, offering picturesque views of the river's bustling activity. These attractions highlight some of the best things to do in Zaandam without spending a cent, ensuring that visitors can explore the charm and heritage of this Dutch gem in an affordable way.

Cheap things to do in Zaandam

Travelers seeking to enjoy Zaandam without stretching the budget have plenty of options. One of the most affordable and popular attractions is the Zaanse Schans, where you can gaze at the historic windmills and enjoy the open-air museum grounds for free. A minimal fee is only required if you wish to enter specific windmills or museums onsite. Exploring the local markets offers another economically savvy activity, where browsing is free and visitors can sample traditional Dutch treats without a hefty price tag. Lastly, Zaandam's picturesque streets themselves are an attraction; take a self-guided walking tour along the Zaan River to admire the infamous green wooden houses and immersive Dutch charm. Each of these recommendations proves that engaging in the best Zaandam activities doesn't have to come with a high cost.

Things to do in Zaandam for couples

Zaandam provides an idyllic backdrop for romance, offering couples an array of intimate and memorable experiences. Strolling hand-in-hand along the serene banks of the Zaan River offers a picturesque setting, especially at sunset when the water reflects the pastel colors of the sky. For those interested in cultural excursions, visiting the Zaanse Schans presents a timeless escape where couples can explore authentic Dutch windmills and cozy up in charming cafés. To add a touch of artistic flair, the Monet Atelier is a must-see, celebrating the period when the famous impressionist painter Claude Monet found inspiration in Zaandam. Here, lovers can immerse themselves in Monet's vision of the Dutch landscape and perhaps find artistic inspiration of their own. Zaandam is a treasure trove of experiences perfect for couples seeking to weave together cultural enrichment with romantic moments.

Things to do in Zaandam at night

As the sun sets, Zaandam reveals its nocturnal charm with attractions that cater to night owls and romantic souls alike. An evening canal cruise is a must-do, allowing couples and friends to witness the illuminated cityscape from the gentle currents of the Zaan River. The reflections of the city lights on the water create a magical atmosphere perfect for a special night out. Another popular nocturnal activity is to explore the local dining scene. Zaandam boasts a variety of eateries where visitors can indulge in international cuisine or authentic Dutch gastronomy. For those looking to extend their evening, the bars and cafes in the city center offer a cozy ambiance for enjoying a drink and live music, rounding out the top things to do in Zaandam at night. Each venue is imbued with a welcoming Dutch charm that ensures a delightful conclusion to the day's adventures.