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Motherhood between windmills and tulips

A day out in Zaanse Schans: A breath of fresh Dutch air

A Day Out at Zaanse Schans: A Breath of Fresh Dutch Air
Picture this: A gorgeous landscape dominated by windmills, historical houses, and the gentle scent of freshly baked “stroopwafel” in the air. If you're a busy mom looking for a break from the daily grind, Zaanse Schans in the Netherlands might just be your haven. And it’s the best place to bring your visiting family too!
As a working mother myself, I understand the desire to step back from our busy routines and to indulge in a day of culture, history, and, yes, a bit of shopping. You don’t see that a lot on my agenda…this so-called planning for indulgence. So when I get a chance to have that break, I grab it! If doing the same sounds like your cup of tea (or in this case, Dutch coffee), read on!

Morning Beginnings
Our day started early. It’s the tail end of the summer season so we expected some tourists around even during this time. Located just 20 minutes away from our home in Amsterdam, this open-air museum will immediately feel as an escape from the modern world. The short journey itself is a refreshing transition from the urban jungle to this lush Dutch countryside.

Windmills & More
Upon entering, the iconic windmills greeted us. These aren't just any windmills; they are a part of Holland's proud heritage. While it’s tempting to simply admire them from the ground, climbing to the top is a must. Do you see us up there?? Not only does the climb up provide a mini workout (always a bonus…or not! hehe), but the view from the top is breathtaking. Overlooking the River Zaan, with the green landscape stretching as far as the eye can see, you can't help but take a deep breath and momentarily forget about grocery lists and school projects.

Cheese, please!
Next stop was the cheese factory. Now, ladies, if you're a cheese lover like I am, you're in for a treat. The demonstration on how traditional Dutch cheese is made is fascinating. And my favorite part, the cheese tasting! Gouda, Edam, you name it, they've got it.

Crafts & Clogs
As we continued along the area we encountered the clog workshop. Clogs are traditional wooden shoes that have been worn in the Netherlands for centuries. Watching the craftsman at work, turning blocks of wood into wearable art, was mesmerizing. And if you’re thinking of souvenirs, these make for a quirky and authentic choice.

A Gourmet Break
Lunch was at one of the local cafes. With an array of traditional Dutch dishes, it's hard to pick just one. Typical would be to get Erwtensoep, a hearty split pea soup, usually served on a slightly chilly weather, but a lot go for just a tosti (an equivalent of grilled cheese sandwich). And of course, no order is complete for our family having lunch together without getting the famous dutch pancakes. Drizzled with syrup and a dusting of powdered sugar, it's my kids’ comfort on a plate.

Shopper's Delight
Zaanse Schans boasts of boutique stores that offer everything from handcrafted jewelry, vintage collectibles, to local artisanal products. It's a paradise for those looking for unique finds. We mothers often end up shopping for everyone else, be it clothes for the kids or groceries for the house. Here, you can indulge a bit and pick something just for yourself. As for me, I got myself a nice vegan soap from the Soap Factory.

Wrapping Up
As the day came to a close, we found ourselves having enough fotos than we ever wanted! But in the day's adventures, the fun, and sheer joy of doing something out of the ordinary for me was refreshing. Zaanse Schans isn’t just about the windmills or the cheese. It’s about taking a moment for oneself and being grateful for the beauty of history and nature.

So to all the hardworking moms out there, when the daily grind gets a bit too much, remember places like Zaanse Schans await. Go ahead, take that well-deserved break, whether it’s with your family or whether it’s with your friends.  After all, moments like these are best shared.

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