If you want to visit Zaanse Schans, you may be fooled into thinking you need to be part of a tour group to get there.
But with prices hovering around £30.00 per adult leaving from Amsterdam, it’s certainly not a cheap day out.
When you realise Zaanse Schans is actually free to go and explore, you realise just how much of a rip off those tour companies are.
They’re really relying on the fact that either you haven’t done your research or that they can show you Zaanse Schans as part of a package tour. Of course if you’re up against the clock, a package tour which allows you to visit multiple places in one day could be perfect for your needs, but if Zaanse Schans is the only place that interests you, or the only place the tour is going to, then definitely boycott and do it yourself!
Zaanse Schans is definitely not something you require the expertise of an organised tour for. In fact if you’re travelling with children it’s easier to get there and back on your own terms. Not only is it vastly cheaper, but you can go at your own pace which I think is key when you have young children.
All you have to do is get yourself to Amsterdam Central station. On the map of Amsterdam that’s the middle point of all the semi circles.
If you can’t walk to Amsterdam Central because of distance, grab a local bus. Use google maps to see where the bus stop is and what bus number you should be looking out for.
Most buses heading into the centre tend to head towards Amsterdam Central.
Use a bank card to purchase your tickets on board the bus. Children are free between the ages of 0-3, and from 4 they have to pay for a child’s ticket. Keep hold of your ticket though, because your ticket provides you with bus transport all day long so it’ll include the price of the return journey.
If you have a pram make sure to board buses using the middle doors.
Once you’ve reached Amsterdam Central, use the self-service machines to buy your tickets. The train station for Zaanse Schans is called Zaandijk Zaanse Schans. It’s quite a mouthful so if you forget the name of the train station when you’re at Amsterdam Central just type in Zaanse Schans and the train station name will come up.
The return train fare will cost an adult €4.20 and our train left from platform 7a. I think it’s a frequent service that tends to go from the same platform. But there are boards everywhere so double-check.
Both Amsterdam Central and Zaandijk Zaanse Schans have lift access, so there’s no need to get baby out the pram at any point! Another reason for travelling to Zaanse Schans using this route.
The train journey takes just 17 minutes.
Once you’ve left Zaandijk Zaanse Schans train station there are signs directing you to Zaanse Schans and it’s perhaps a 10 minute walk. There’s a windmill en route and you cross over a bridge which gives you an amazing view of Zaanse Schans before you even get in there!
How you spend your day from then on is up to you. You can just enjoy the scenery, walking past the windmills and taking spectacular pictures. Or you can go into the free exhibits that interest you.
If you want to add-on to the experience you can pay the small fees which are associated with a few of the exhibitions. The fees aren’t that much, perhaps €4.00 here and there per adult, and children pay a discounted price from aged 6.
If you want to experience everything and you’re doing a full day visit, the Zaanse Schans card can be bought near the entrance. For us it wouldn’t have been cost-effective at all. But depending on what you want to do it could be worth considering.