From Schipol Airport, we took a train going to Koog-Zaandijk, which is about 30 minutes journey. And from there, we walked for about 15 minutes before we finally reach the beautiful Zaan Region. I fell in love with the place right away – the idyllic views of the windmills, the wooden quaint houses beautifully painted in green, the tranquil River Zaan, industrial shops and museums, the warm and friendly Dutch, and the green pasteurs.. Everything was so simple, yet so perfect.
As we walked through, the aromatic fragrance of cocoa greeted us and lingered all over the place, made me crave for a hot chocolate drink. We were hypnotized by the smell, so we followed where it’s coming from and there it took us to the Chocolate Laboratory. There’s a free demonstration on how to make a chocolate drink, which involves four steps: 1-Roasting of clean and raw beans, 2-Cracking & Winnowing, 3-Grinding Cold, 4-Grinding Warm.
Then we visited the Catherina Hoeve Cheese Factory which also held cheese making demonstration. It boasts to have the tastiest cheese on earth, goat cheese is my personal favourite. There were free taste and cheese for purchases as well.
Just next to the Cheese Factory is one of the oldest museum dating back year 1658, the Bakery Museum. It holds an impressive collection of traditional baking equipments.
There are hundreds of windmills in Zaanse Schans and they are particularly used for milling oils, paints, saw and spices. We entered the latter one.
We ended our Zaan trip by visiting the Wooden Shoe Workshop and Museum.We were demonstrated with the traditional and modern way of producing clogs. It was mentioned that an individual skilled shoemaker could make up to 7 pairs of clogs in a day, and for massive production of clogs, machines are being used. The museum also holds different kinds of clogs, depending on the purpose of use – there are work clogs, regional clogs, Sunday clogs (worn in going to church), wedding clogs, etc.