Today was my second full day in Amsterdam. Like yesterday I had back to back tours booked which would fill the majority of the day. The morning tour visited Zaanze Schans, Volendam, and Marken. With the afternoon tour visiting Delft, The Hague and Madurodam.
The tour For the morning had three stops, Zaanse Schans, Volendam, and Marken. While all were of interest the stop in Volendam had a little extra to capture my attention from the name. MS Volendam was the name of the ship which I completed my second cruise.
Zaanse Schans is a village famous for its windmills. Between 1961 and 1974 a lot of the building from the wider area were brought together at Zaanse Schans. At one point around 1760, there were up to 700 windmills in the area. Today it would appear there is around eight still in the immediate vicinity, for preservation.
There is more to Zaanse Schans than just windmills, though, and there is more history to be discovered itself. The village prominently features the traditional Dutch architecture, which dates back to the 16th century.
Even in this much smaller village some 15km from Amsterdam itself, canals are still fairly prevalent. I suppose there are numerous benefits to the canals, in forming boundaries, and an alternative method to get around. Although from my point of view today they just help create some beautiful scenes.
Our time in Volendam was rather short, with just enough time for a short stroll before boarding a ferry. It is hard to tell from the small part of Volendam I visited, but the town is home to some 22,000 people.
The tour departed Volendam on a 30-minute ferry trip to Marken. Marken forms a peninsula on the Markermeer, which was formerly an island in the Zuiderzee. The connection to the mainland occurred in the 1950’s transforming Marken from an island community.
The architecture in Marken is again very traditional, and the canals are again present. There are two local industries in Marken which we got to see demonstrated today. The first trade explained is that of cheese making. Some of the aspects of cheese making the equipment used were on display and a short explanation is given on the process they use.
On the other hand, the second industry is that of clog making, which is something so often associated with the Dutch. The demo was quite amazing, at the speed the craftsman worked. He was able to take a solid piece of wood and transform it into a pair of clogs in under 10minutes. The specific machinery for making clogs was also quite intriguing.
The two tours today while operated by the same company, are separate. One aspect in Amsterdam that I have found to be great. A range of half-day tours are available with a variety of combinations to make full day tour packages. The afternoon tour visits three more locations Delft, The Hague, and Madurodam.
Delft is a city located an hour south-west of Amsterdam and is home to nearly 100,000 people. The primary focus of our visit to the area today was to visit a Delft Blue Pottery factory. Delftware is a form of tin-glazed pottery made in Delft, which is part of a worldwide family of Blue and White Pottery.
The interesting part to all of this is that originally this style of pottery was created when the locals brought back beautiful pottery from China. However, the tables have turned back, and the copies are now coming from China.
There was some free time available in Delft to walk around the city a little. I got a chance to see some of the lovely older buildings here including the new church. While it may be called the new church, it is still over 500 years old. The City Hall is also quite an impressive and striking building which has now become too small for the city.
With limited time I had to chose where I spent my time carefully and ended up exploring a church I found. The church was named Maria can Kessekerk. The church has some beautiful stained glass windows, and beautiful organ, which is made up of some 2,500 pipes.
The Hauge was the next destination for the tour. Located just north of Delft, The Hauge is a much bigger city with a population of over half a million people. Unfortunately, this was a minimal part of the tour and more of a drive by of numerous interesting landmarks.
The only stop in The Hauge was a photo stop at a building by the name of The Peace Palace. This building is the home of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the oldest institution for international dispute resolution.
Madurodam is an interactive park with miniature models of many Dutch buildings, landmarks, turbines and depictions of daily life. Even after spending just one or two days in Amsterdam and some of the surrounds, there are many recognisable buildings here.
Miniature villages or displays such as this are something that I love to visit. What they do is give you an entirely different perspective of real life buildings on a much smaller scale. Often when you see a building in a city, the area can make it difficult to distinguish the full size or scale of a building. But in miniature, it is an entirely different story, especially when they in isolation to other buildings.
With the end of the tour today, my time in my time in Amsterdam is coming to a close. I took a little time to explore some more of the city and then headed for the train back to the airport and my hotel for the evening. Tomorrow I travel onwards to Copenhagen and a new city to explore.
Amsterdam has been a great city to visit. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave a comment below. Alternatively, you can find me on social media at Twitter – @joel_travels, Instagram – @joel_travels, Facebook – Joel Travels & Pinterest Joel Travels.