Somehow, I ended up in Zaanse Schans

Posted on August 4, 2010


Every country has its clichés and stereotypes, those you’ve heard so much about that it almost makes you sick to imagine actually seeing or experiencing them. And yet, after my eye-opening trip to the Tower Bridge in London, I started forcing myself to go anyway, to witness with my own eyes those things which have escalated to tourist fame. Then, I try to strip all this background information off, to imagine that I am the first person to ever visit, and then magic happens. Because why does a place become so touristic? Why does something become so emblematic of a particular destination, other than for the fact that it is really, minus the hoards of people crowding around to witness it, beautiful, remarkable and unforgettable?

Maybe that’s how I found myself in Zaanse Schans in the North of Holland, a city of windmills elegantly posing along a wide river, and apparently a favourite with picture-crazy Japanese tourists.

The truth is that when I got there, I couldn’t care less about the touristic factor. After all, it was a bright sunny day and I was already on my way to getting nicely sunburnt. Most of the visitors around were locals and the Japanese ones were terribly quiet and orderly as usual, and then there was of course, the much welcome respite from the endless sea of bicycles of the capital, whizzing past without even mildly attempting to stop when it’s your turn to cross the street, and ringing their diabolical little bell, as if it had the power to part oceans.


There was still, even this far north, the typical seemingly comatose waiter who appeared pissed off at the fact that I was asking him to bring me food, but other than that, it was a different world. A little petting farm was as much of a hit with children as it was with me and my best friend, the windmills looked somewhat surreal while bathed in sunshine, and a short, speed boat ride across the water to the other side caused such a pure, uncontrollable splash of pleasure in the members of my group that suddenly even the idiotic waiter did not deserve a passing thought.


So yes, Zaanse Schans is a highly touristy place, but hey, it really is great fun.

-Text and Photography by Denise Pulis @

Posted in: Zaanse Schans