Cruise Back in Time into the Heart of Dutch History at Zaanse Schans
European river cruises provide a unique insight into a country: nowhere is this more true than a trip by boat through the ‘living museum’ of Zaanse Schans.
For many the joy of European river cruises is being able to explore a country or region in a leisurely, paced way. To meander through its rural landscapes or towns and to witness for yourself the way history has left its indelible mark. A trip through the Dutch rural landscape of Zaanse Schans offers a unique experience in this respect. A living museum, the countryside itself has been preserved to give those visiting a fascinating glimpse into rural Dutch life at the time of its industrial revolution, the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Visitors opt for the European river cruises that pass through this area will witness the key features of Dutch industrial life, with twelve windmills strewn across the landscape, as well as traditional workshops and houses, all perfectly preserved. For those who want to find out more about how people lived and worked at these times, there is also a range of museums dedicated to specific areas of the culture.
How People Lived
Whether you want to find out how people lived in the industrialised Netherlands in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries or how they worked, there will be a museum at Zaanse Schans for you. Curated in authentic traditional spaces like houses or workshops, the museums aim to bring the past back to life for their visitors, immersing them in the world of the Dutch industrial revolution through interactive displays and exhibitions.
One of the icons that has long defined the Dutch landscapes, Zaanse Schans has no fewer than twelve traditional windmills for you to explore. Dating back to as early as 1610, the windmills here have been used to mill everything from flour to oil and even paint. Originally used to scoop water from the low-lying ground in order to reclaim the land, these early polder mills were then converted to mill other materials.
Local Craft Workshops
If you are interested in the industry of the period then, as well as the windmills, you should definitely visit some of the fascinating workshops on the site. Using authentic, traditional methods, craftsmen will give you an insight into production of various goods from the time, including wooden clogs and boat sails. Step back in time and see how these items were crafted prior to mass manufacturing.
The best European river cruises give you the opportunity to travel slowly and leisurely through a country, to really get to know its landscape and its people. A trip to Zaanse Schans will certainly add to this experience for anyone taking a river holiday in the Netherlands.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK's most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury river cruises and barge holidays. If you're looking for the most exciting European river cruises European Waterways is an ideal choice. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.