"Zaandam and surroundings" Top 5 Page for this destination Zaandam by tompt
Zaandam Travel Guide: 58 reviews and 194 photos
Zaandam, the city i worked in for 24 years. Longer than i ever imagined, but it must have something... Since the first time i came here the city has changed, but there is also much of the old Zaandam left. You can see that in the many windmills for example or just visit the Zaanse Schans. We made a page for the Zaanse Schans too, and this page will host all tips and pics from the area known as the Zaanstreek.
The first people lived here around 600 BC. After that the IJ flooded and the entire area was under water. But around the year 0 people were living here again. To leave the swamps here 200 years later. It took untill the 10th century before the area became attractive again. Many traditions come from that time. Like Luilak (saturday before whitsuntide) and Sint Maarten (11/11). The special bread from here Duivekater, comes from that time too when it was used in offerings to German gods. They had the form of animals, also of a cat, therefor the christians called it Devils Cat (Duivels Kater)
They were also the people who made the swamps liveable by building dikes and making the polders dry.
In the 16th century Amsterdam became wealthy and the Zaanstreek moved along with that. They became the industrial area for the big city. In 1596 a windmill marked the golden age for the Zaanstreek. It was the first saw mill.
It became easy to work with wood and the shipbuilding boomed. 75 ships a year were made here. 80% of the whalingships were from here. At the top of the industrial period there were 630 industrial windmills in the area. The golden age lasted until 1730. Wars and the invention of the steammachine made it worse. And in 1850 the rest of the world was on steam while the Zaanstreek was still working with windmills. But the times changed and the new industries won. The Zaanstreek is still a very important industrial area in our country.
Although Zaandam has more things to see the most famous attraction is without doubt the Zaans Schans. A living and... more travel advice
The wooden houses of the Zaanstreek all have this green color. Green was, and still is, a color that lasts longer... more travel advice
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