Skip to Content

Exploring Dutch Windmills: Zaanse Schans vs. Kinderdijk

Kinderdijk or Zaanse Schans

When you are talking about the Netherlands you are talking about Zaanse Schans windmills too; they go hand in hand.

The main reason why there are so many mills in Netherlands is most probably for pumping water back to the rivers out of the lowlands.

The most iconic windmill authentic villages in Netherlands are Zaanse Shans and Kinderdijk windmills Netherlands.

Kinderdijk is located pretty close to Rotterdam and Zaanse-Schans is located near Amsterdam.

The best thing about both places is that they are the best destination for a day trip.

You can book your accommodation in Rotterdam or Amsterdam and have a day trip to one of these beautiful villages.

We decided to visit both locations, so we book a few nights in Rotterdam and a few nights in Amsterdam.

It was a very good decision.

In Rotterdam, we chose to stay at because it is located in the city centre and offers high-quality accommodation and good breakfast.

In Amsterdam we decided to stay at .

Why ?

Although it is pretty far from the city center, it is really close to a metro station and has a very good price-quality ratio.

By the way, did you know that the Netherlands celebrates national mill day?

Yes, the second Saturday and Sunday in May is National Mill day in Holland and is the moment when more than 950 mills open their doors to visitors from all over the world.

How you get to Zaanse Schans windmills and Kinderdijk windmills?

You could reach the windmills Netherlands villages by car, by buses or by boat.

The easiest, comfortable and flexible way to reach these villages is by car. You are free to go whenever you want and stay for how long you want.

Get the best price for your car rental today

Buses and boats are more time consuming and you depend on their schedule.

Both places are authentic and representative of the Netherlands. In my opinion, the most popular place is Zaanse-Schans.

This is not necessarily a big plus. Due to its popularity, the place loses its charm a little bit.

Kinderdijk or Zaanse Schans windmills Kinderdijk windmills Netherlands
Kinderdijk or Zaanse-Schans windmill Netherlands

Kinderdijk windmills- short history

The windmills located at Kinderdijk are a group of 19 windmills in the Alblasserwaard polder in Netherlands’ province known as South Holland.

Kinderdijk lie closely to Rotterdam, being the ideal day trip destination for those of you looking to see an authentic outdoor windmills museum. 

These historic windmills were built in the 17th century and their main role was that of a pumping station, I mean to keep water out of the polder.

Some of the windmills from the park are still in function, like De Kat windmill which still produces paints even today.

The mills are listed as national monuments and the entire area is a protected village since 1993; starting with 1997 this is a Unesco World Heritage site.

Zaanse Schans windmills- a short history

Zaanse Schans derived its name from Zaan river and its original function as a sconce against the Spanish troops during the Eight Year’s War of Dutch Independence.

It is very popular attraction located very close to Amsterdam, just 18 minutes away from Amsterdam Central station by train.

Windmills at Zaanse were relocated here from all over the country and today this is the largest museum with windmills from the whole Netherlands.

 The Zaans Museum is home to seven different historic buildings: the Cooperage, the Weavers House, the Jisper House, Zaan Time Museum, the Albert Heijn Museum shop, and the Bakery Museum.

The outdoor park gained its Unesco World Heritage status and today it is one of the best-preserved monuments from the country.

Other windmills from the Netherlands

Besides these two famous windmills outdoor museums, hidden in the beautiful countryside are many windmills, some of them still active.

Two of these stands out with its beauty: De Gooyer from Amsterdam and Molen de Valk from Leiden.

De Gooyer is a windmill from Amsterdam located right between Funenkade and Zeeburgerstraat and is considered to be the tallest windmill from the Netherlands with about 26 meters high.

Molen de Valk  is located in Leiden and is also known as “the Falcon” and it was built in 1785.

Should we visit Kinderdijk or Zaanse Schans windmills?

We chose to visit Kinderdijk windmills Netherlands first.

Stay safe while you travel

  • medical safety abroad
  • medical assistance including COVID-19
  • emergency medical evacuation
  • trip interruption -up to $5.000
  • travel delay - up to $100/day

Both villages are UNESCO World Heritage.

In Kinderdijk we decided to take a boat tour and in Zanse Schanse we took a walking tour.

The admission fee to both sites is almost equal, but Zaanse-Schans is much more crowded.

in Kinderdijk, we took a boat ride along the main channel and we admired the picturesque landscape with the windmills that were mirrored in the shimmering water.

The mills in Kinderdijk were very well maintained and if you are lucky you could see some of them working and you could also visit some!

Another interesting fact is that most of the windmills have written on them the construction year so we could calculate the exact age of them.

Their age is quite impressive!

In my opinion, the most popular windmill place is Zaanse-Schans windmills, but the Kinderdijk windmills Netherlands are the most beautiful

Whether you visit Kinderdijk or Zaanse Schans, each windmill is unique and have a personalized design depending on the region, the date when it was build and the usage.

Now the dutch people do not build any more wind-powered mills.

The contemporary windmill is actually a wind turbine which is neither as impressive nor fascinating as the old one.

Walking along the Zaanse Schans windmills was a very romantic and unforgettable moment!

It is the perfect place to celebrate a wedding anniversary!


Logistical tips and tricks for your trip

Book your accommodation
We always use as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.

You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.

Don't forget travel insurance
We never leave home without HeyMondo Insurance or Safety Wings Insurance as they offer the best services and a good value for money.

When we go for longer trips around the world we get Globelink Insurance as it offers a good cover for an affordable price.

Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected costs caused by medical events like illness, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.

We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.

Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.

We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.

Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.

We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.

Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.

Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.