Windmills & Zaanse Schans

Around Amsterdam, there are several places to see windmills.

Amstel Park - A single picturesque windmill is located on the Amstel River in the Amstel Park, south of Amsterdam. Rent bikes, take the bike paths along the Amstel River, have a picnic and make it a day. (You can follow the route that Rembrandt took when he painted outdoors, which I thought was fascinating, but my kids were oblivious.)
Zaanse Schans - The best collection of windmills close to Amsterdam is the Zaanse Schans in Zaandam.
At the Zaanse Schans, the windmills work and you can climb out on the deck to see the sails thundering round and round (there are safety barriers so you can't get too close.) It's quite rackety and impressive inside the windmill too, watching the huge wooden gears turned by the sails!
To get a glimpse of a 19th century Dutch household, stop into the Museum Het Noorderhuis. There are also stores where you can watch artisans at work. At the De Tinkoepel Tinnegieterij pewter shop, we watched pewter spoons being hammered into shape. For a quick snack, there's the De Kraai pancake house.

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