It’s no secret that the Netherlands is famed for clogs, cheese, tulips, and canals. But what about the windmills? Though most have since been dismantled, this region used to be home to more than 10,000 windmills dotting the Dutch countryside.
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Today, you can still find eight of them on display in the Dutch capital. So, join me as we explore the best Amsterdam windmills to visit and how to see them!
Too long to read?
In a few lines, here goes: Where can you see a windmill in Amsterdam? You have 4 options: Only one of them is in Amsterdam.
- In Amsterdam, you can visit the Brouwerij ‘t IJ brewery next to a windmill in the Plantage district.
- Outside Amsterdam, but in cities very close by, you can find windmills in Zaanse Schans, Sloten, and Keukenhof.
- My tip: Zaanse Schans! Lots of windmills and a beautiful village to visit.
- One more tip: This is the cheapest, most practical, and most popular guided tour from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans.
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Why are windmills famous in the Netherlands?
Now, before we get into the specifics, you may be wondering why exactly are windmills such a big deal in the Netherlands. Well, it’s more than just the postcard-perfect scenes. Much of the Netherlands is below sea level, so the Dutch historically leaned on windmills to keep their feet dry and improve their quality of life. These trusty structures pumped out water, making way for towns and farmlands.
But that’s not all they were used for. Besides grinding grain, windmills were also instrumental in sawing wood, which was vital for the iconic Dutch ships. Today, they stand as a testament to Dutch culture and innovation.
Which windmills are near Amsterdam?
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the various windmills near Amsterdam:
Keukenhof - Historic Windmill Amidst Renowned GardensPark in LisseAdd to myTravel added
Just about a 40-minute drive from Amsterdam, you’ll land in the Dutch town of Lisse. Here, you’ll find not only one but two iconic sights – tulips and a windmill! The mill was originally located in Scharmer, where it was built in 1892 as a polder mill. However, in 1975, it was moved to its current site after the Holland-America Line gave it as a gift. Today, it stands only as an ornamental object, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s the most photographed windmill in the Netherlands.
So, while a visit to Keukenhof might be primarily for the flowers, the mill offers its own charm. And while you won’t get a deep dive into windmill lore, what you will receive is an unmatched panoramic view of the tulip fields and the park. Book your ticket to Keukenhof Gardens today and see the breathtaking beauty that occurs when two Dutch icons collide. Just remember, Keukenhof and its windmill have seasonal openings, so plan accordingly!
*The Keukenhof Garden is only open during the spring season. In general, between March and May each year.
Molen van Sloten - Operational Mill Steeped in HistoryCity in NetherlandsAdd to myTravel added
Located in Sloten, just outside of central Amsterdam, is the Molen van Sloten or Sloten Windmill. But this isn’t just any old windmill – it’s a unique blend of yesteryear and modern functionality. What was initially built upon the legacy of an 1847 mill, it was lovingly reconstructed in 1990, combining classic charm with modern efficiency.
Today, it’s hard at work, performing drainage nearly every day. And there’s more! Step inside to find a captivating Rembrandt exhibition and a detailed ‘Amsterdam in 1630’ model. Plus, nearby, there’s a unique cooperage museum waiting to be explored. Visit
Zaanse Schans - Step Back Into YesteryearCity in North HollandAdd to myTravel added
Just a quick 20 km journey north of the city awaits the picturesque little town of Zaanse Schans. This charming open-air museum is a time capsule to the Netherlands of the 18th and 19th centuries. Dotting its landscape are historic windmills, some of which are still in operation today.
Inside, discover an array of shops, museums, and eateries, bringing to life the authentic past. From April to October, many windmills invite visitors to step inside and marvel. And while walking is free, a Zaanse Schans Card offers comprehensive access for an affordable cost. Trust me! This is not just a place; it’s an experience waiting to be enjoyed!
* Although most visitors opt for a day trip from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans between April and October, the village of Mills is open all year round. Only on Christmas and New Year’s Day do the village’s attractions have different opening hours.
De Gooyer / Brouwerij 't IJ - Iconic Windmill Meets Celebrated BreweryBar & Pub in PlantageAdd to myTravel added
Take a leisurely stroll through Amsterdam Oost, and you can’t miss the impressive stature of De Gooyer. Built in 1725, this windmill stands as the tallest wooden windmill in the country. And while its blades might have stopped turning after a storm in 1972, its legacy remains unshaken.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the windmill is phenomenal and definitely a must-see, but do you want to know what steals the show for me? Right next door is Brouwerij ‘t IJ, one of the region’s most celebrated breweries. So, while you can’t peek inside the windmill, what’s better than sipping on one of Amsterdam’s finest craft beers under its shadow? A perfect blend of old and new, this duo offers a quintessential experience that you won’t find elsewhere! Cheers to that!
What are the Windmill Tours from Amsterdam?
For those wondering the best way to see Amsterdam’s windmills, the answer is simple: book a windmill tour! Yet, with so many to pick from, I know it can be hard to choose the one that best fits your needs. To help you through this process, I’ve compiled the following list of windmill tours you must check out next time you’re in this capital city. Take a look:
The Best Windmill Tours from Amsterdam in Comparison
From Amsterdam: Guided Zaanse Schans & Cheese Tasting Tour
Amsterdam: Edam, Volendam, and Zaanse Schans Guided Tour
Amsterdam: Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam & Marken Bus Tour
Amsterdam: Giethoorn, Volendam, and Zaanse Schans Tour
Spanish, English, German
English, German, Spanish, French
English, Dutch, Indonesian, Arabic
Edam, Volendam, and Zaanse Schans
Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam, and Marken
Giethoorn, Volendam, and Zaanse Schans
Pickup and drop-off
Clog making demonstration
Clog making demonstration
From Amsterdam Windmill Tours in details
Tour from Amsterdam to 4 Windmill Villages: Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam & MarkenDay Trip in AmsterdamAdd to myTravel added
Ready to set out on an 8-hour journey around the Dutch countryside? This guided tour begins by heading north to Zaanse Schans, where you’ll see a breathtaking lake and 17th-century homes and have the opportunity to step inside some of the area’s beautifully preserved windmills. Once the fun is over here, you’ll head on to Edam and enjoy some world-renowned cheese and a clog demonstration.
Before the perfect trip comes to an end, stop in Marken and Voldendam, where you can stroll down the narrow streets and admire the colorful homes or visit the harbor’s many fishing boats. Just don’t forget to stop in the souvenir shops and have a taste of some locally sourced fish specialties. And while you’ll have to purchase a ticket to the Zaanse Schans windmill separately, this is a great value tour at less than 40 Euros per person – making it well worth the money!
Half-day tour from Amsterdam to 3 Windmill Villages : Edam, Volendam, and Zaanse SchansDay Trip in AmsterdamAdd to myTravel added
If you’re looking for a half-day tour of the Dutch countryside and its famed windmills and haven’t visited Zaanse Schans, then this is one for you! This 6.5-hour guided tour sets off from Amsterdam and travels comfortably to the country village of Edam, where you’ll enjoy quiet walks through the streets. After everyone reboards the bus, be prepared to stop at a farm on the way to Voldendam and witness firsthand how real Gouda is actually made. And yes! You even get to try some after the demonstration.
In Volendam, your guide will show you through the fishing village and explain its connection to Edam before turning you loose for some free time. Before the trip comes to an end, you’ll have a chance to visit Zaanse Schans, where they used to make dyes, oil, ground spices, and more. While they may not make all of those products anymore, some of them are functional windmills that you can go inside. I should also note that the wooden shoe factory is really neat, as you can see antique machines and how traditional clogs were made. Anyone looking for a half-day tour should give this one a try!
Tour from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans with Cheese TastingDay Trip in AmsterdamAdd to myTravel added
Are you interested in traditional windmills and dairy? If you said yes, then this is the windmill tour for you! Setting off on a 3.5-hour excursion, this guided bus tour takes you to the renowned Zaanse Schans. This open-air museum is home to wooden houses, shops, barns, and mills dating all the way back to the 18th and 19th centuries.
Considering this destination is less than a half-hour drive by car from the city centre, this tour is one of the easiest ways to see a working mill in Amsterdam. Combine that with the extra activities such as live shoemaking workshops, a cheese-making demonstration, and low ticket prices, and it’s easy to see why it’s my go-to windmills tour. With this, though, keep in mind that tickets to the museum and mill are not included but are optional.
E-Bike Tour from Amsterdam to Zaanse SchansDay Trip in AmsterdamAdd to myTravel added
Leave Amsterdam’s excitement behind and embark on a 4-hour-long countryside e-bike tour. As you get off the ferry and hop on your bike, your adventure will begin in the Old Holland area of Amsterdam. When here, be sure to check out the Eye Film Museum and the Amsterdam Tower.
Next, you’ll find yourself cycling through Broek in Waterland, where you’ll pass historical buildings, farms, bridges, and canals. On your next stop, you’ll enjoy a few demonstrations that show how clogs and dairy products are made. But the real star here is the mill that you’ll see on the last leg of the tour as you tour a local farm that produces cheese that it exports around the globe. At less than 50 Euros per person, this is a fantastic way to see everything the Netherlands country has to offer.
3-Hours Tour from Amsterdam to Zaanse SchansDay Trip in AmsterdamAdd to myTravel added
Only interested in windmills for the most part? Then I suggest the Zaanse Schans 3-hour small group tour. At just under 40 Euros per person, you’ll travel from Amsterdam to this small area in comfort. Along the way, your guide will explain sights and interesting information about the region.
When visiting Zaanse Schans, you’ll have the chance to visit a wooden shoemaking shop and learn how clogs are made. But my favorite part is the trip to the farm, where you’ll see how Gouda is made and get to taste a variety of delicious cheeses. Of course, they save the best part for last, and that’s when the guide explains the mill before allowing you to venture inside.
What I like most is that the only thing your ticket doesn’t cover is food and drinks, so all experiences are included in the price! This is a great tour for anyone looking to learn more about the mills and get great views of the country.
Amsterdam: Giethoorn, Volendam, and Zaanse Schans TourDay Trip in AmsterdamAdd to myTravel added
For anyone serious about seeing windmills in Amsterdam, this is my go-to recommendation – pending that they have 10 hours to spare. While it seems like a long trip, this is hands down the best way to see three different regions of the Netherlands and have a whole lot of fun along the way.
Begin your journey with a stop in Amsterdam’s Zaanse Schans. Stroll the streets and view the green homes, visit a clog-making factory, enjoy the view from the lake, or go inside an operational mill; you can do it all in this village. For your next stop, sample local delights in Volendam at Catharine Hoeve farm.
Aside from its delicious food offerings, Voldendam is also home to many brightly colored buildings and a harbor full of fishing boats. At over 100 Euros per person, this is one of the more costly tours on this list, but believe me, it’s worth every cent!
From Amsterdam: Giethoorn & Zaanse Schans Tour w/ Boat RideDay Trip in AmsterdamAdd to myTravel added
Ready for an immersive Netherlands experience in just 9 hours? Starting from Amsterdam’s Central Station, this journey kicks off with Zaanse Schans – a living museum featuring farms, clog factories and iconic mills.
Once you’ve soaked in that old-world charm, journey to the serene Giethoorn. This picturesque village is a serene canvas of thatched-roof houses and winding canals. Here’s the best part: you get to navigate those serene waters on an electric boat!
Plus, if you’re feeling bold, take the helm and steer for a bit. Although it’s a bit of a splurge, and the attraction tickets are not included in the price, the memories are priceless!
Amsterdam: Keukenhof and Zaanse Schans Windmills Day TripDay Trip in AmsterdamAdd to myTravel added
Spend a day diving into the real Dutch countryside. Start from Amsterdam and head straight to Zaanse Schans, a village showcasing the Netherlands’ iconic windmills. Use the app to guide your walk, and maybe even catch a clog-painting workshop or sample some local food.
Then, prepare yourself for Keukenhof, where the sheer variety of flowers will leave you amazed. It’s not just tulips; you’ll find a whole range of blooms, from daffodils to hyacinths. And if you’ve got the time, there’s a maze and other attractions to check out. With flexible schedules, it’s easy to plan your day. When you’re done, hop on the last bus by 18:30, and you’re back in Amsterdam. Simple, right? Pair the sights and simplicity of the tour with the affordable ticket price, and it’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular windmills tour.
From Amsterdam: Zaanse Schans & Zaandam E-Bike TourDay Trip in AmsterdamAdd to myTravel added
Few things are better than a 2-wheel ride through the Dutch countryside. On this 5.5-hour e-bike tour, you’re taken straight into the heart of the Netherlands landscape. After hopping on a quick ferry, you’ll smoothly transition into pedaling through Amsterdam’s scenic Waterlands. Just imagine vast open fields with cows lazily grazing, and if you’re lucky, a friendly local farmer might just welcome you over for some freshly churned ice cream.
As your trip continues, you’ll find yourself in the iconic Zaanse Schans. Here, you’re greeted by timeless windmills, traditional foods, clog stalls, and, believe it or not, the original Albert Heijn store. Before heading back to Amsterdam, the trip loops around via Zaandam, making sure you get a glimpse of the unique Inntelhotel – it’s a sight you won’t forget! And at under 80 Euros per ticket, it’s excellent value for a day well spent.
Villages & Windmills Zaanse Schans Small Group TourDay Trip in AmsterdamAdd to myTravel added
Hop on a modern bus and spend 5 hours exploring towns and windmills with this small group tour. Starting in Zaanse Schans, you’re immediately transported to an age where windmills ruled the landscape, each serving a unique purpose – from a tower mill and corn mill to saw mills. As you wander, the area’s iconic green timbered houses offer a picturesque backdrop.
For your next stop, lose track of time as you wander through Voldendam, the famed fishing village. Here, take a walk on the dike and explore the harbor, dress up in Volendammer costume to have a photo taken, or simply relax and marvel at a local dairy-making demonstration.
Finish out your trip by walking through Broek, where you can tour a wooden shoe factory and learn how just 28 people in the country have learned how to quickly make shoes from blocks of wood. It is important to note that this is one of the pricier windmills tour on the list, but all experiences are included in your ticket price. So, the only thing you have to cover is food and drinks. Overall, this is one of the best windmills tours for most people because it gives you an authentic experience every time.
Amsterdam: Keukenhof, Tulip Farm Full-Day Tour with CruisDay Trip in AmsterdamAdd to myTravel added
Experience the splendor of the Netherlands in this 8.5-hour tour. Begin by wandering through Keukenhof, arguably one of the world’s most enchanting gardens, where seas of vibrant tulips await. Here, you’ll get acquainted with passionate tulip farmers Daan and Anja and gain insights into their meticulous craft. As you wander around, take advantage of the opportunity to take Instagram-worthy photos in the midst of the kaleidoscope of colors.
Then, switch to a tranquil mill cruise. As you gently sail, you will drift past working windmills and enjoy picturesque landscapes from a freshwater perspective. This tour is not only comprehensive but also offers excellent value for money, with a price tag of less than 100 euros. Just remember to bring some extra cash for any tempting food or drinks along the way.
Amsterdam: Day Trip Keukenhof Gardens with Windmill CruiseDay Trip in AmsterdamAdd to myTravel added
If you’re looking for a day trip that takes you past plenty of windmills, this is it! And this is especially true if you’ve never visited Keukenhof! Leave from Central Station and set out on an 8-hour journey filled with windmills and flower fields. This windmill tour begins with an hour-long boat ride that begins in the Netherlands’ lowest point, Warmond, and offers gorgeous views of the countryside, complete with operational windmills.
After leaving the boat, you’ll enter Keukenhof, which is one of the world’s most renowned gardens and covers more than 32 hectares (79 acres) with nearly 7 million flower bulbs planted annually. This windmills tour is always one of my favorites because it’s very flexible, and once you’re off the boat, you have the freedom to explore Keukenhof for as long as you want, so long as you’re on the last bus by 18:30. With tickets less than 60 Euros per person, you can’t beat the value of this great day trip!
From Amsterdam: Keukenhof & Windmill Village Guided TourDay Trip in AmsterdamAdd to myTravel added
Spend 9 unforgettable hours diving deep into an unforgettable experience with this tour. First off, Keukenhof Gardens awaits. But it’s not like any garden you’ve ever seen; it’s a collection of tulips, daffodils, and crocuses in every conceivable shade. Your guide will take you on a 45-minute walk-through, unraveling the stories behind these blooms. And are you a cheese aficionado? Well, you’re about to hit the jackpot. Delight in local delicacy tastings and witness the age-old craft of clog-making.
The journey continues in Zaanse Schans, a slice of old-world Holland. Those windmills, you ask? They’re more than just picture-perfect – they’re Dutch history in motion. And if the idea of cruising Amsterdam’s canals or soaring over the Netherlands in a 5D experience excites you, consider it an option. One thing to note: while the memories are yours to keep, the food, drinks, and Zaanse Schans mill entry will be on your tab. Aside from the fact that tickets are nearly 100 Euros, it’s a great way to spend a day outside of Amsterdam!
Amsterdam: 3-Hour Zaanse Schans Windmills Tour w/ GuideDay Trip in AmsterdamAdd to myTravel added
Looking for a short tour that focuses on Amsterdam’s windmills? Then look no further than this 3-hour tour around Zaanse Schans. After meeting your guide at a small location near Central Station, you’ll receive your Batavus bike. As you follow the banks of the Zaan River to Zaanse Schans, your experienced guide will explain the sights.
Once you’re in the photogenic locale, it’s easy to see why Claude Monet once found so much inspiration in de Borcht. Now, it’s your turn to explore and see what this fantastic place has to offer. It’s worth noting that there are four main mills, including De Kat, in Zaanse Schans; of them, some are functions, and others are ornamental – your guide will know which ones work. So, if you’re looking for a fantastic way to explore the Netherlands, don’t miss this windmills tour!
Visit the windmills with the Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket
Unlock the wonders of Amsterdam and its charming outskirts with the Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket. This versatile pass offers unrestricted access to Amsterdam’s GVB services and regional buses by Connexxion and EBS, as well as NS trains within the Amsterdam region. You can choose from 1, 2, or 3 consecutive days, tailoring it to your travel plans, be it a quick weekend escape or an extended exploration.
Purchasing and using the ticket is hassle-free, with easy online acquisition and convenient collection points in Amsterdam. The card activates on your first use and provides free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance, ensuring peace of mind.
Distinguish it from the Amsterdam Travel Ticket, which is limited to Amsterdam’s city transport, including a round trip to/from Schiphol Airport. The Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket, in contrast, extends its reach to other cities in the region via buses and trains.
This ticket covers trams, buses, metros, ferries, and trains, including a round-trip Airport Express Transfer between Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport. It facilitates exciting day trips to destinations like Zaanse Schans, Keukenhof, Haarlem, Zandvoort and IJmuide beaches, Marken, Volendam, Edam, Amstelveen, and Muiderslot Castle.
Explore Amsterdam’s enchanting streets and far beyond with the Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket, the gateway to a world of Dutch charm and culture.
Facts about windmills in Amsterdam
Of course, you’ll learn all about these mills on your trip, but who says you have to wait until then? Check out these facts about Amsterdam’s windmills:
- Historical Importance: Mills have been an essential part of the area’s culture since the 13th century. They were initially built to pump water out of the lowlands and back into the rivers beyond the dikes.
- Numbers: At the height of the era, Amsterdam boasted over 10,000 windmills. Today, only eight still stand on the city’s skyline.
- Types: Amsterdam’s windmills served various functions. While many were used for draining, others ground raw materials to produce products like paint, oil, and even mustard!
- Moving Windmills: The city’s rapid development led to some mills being relocated to the suburbs or museums like Zaanse Schans to preserve them.
- Residential Windmills: Some of Amsterdam’s windmills, like Riekermolen and De 1200 Roe, are used as residences, keeping their memory alive in a unique way.
- Windmill Day: The second Saturday in May is National Windmill Day in the Netherlands. On this day, over 600 wind and watermills open their doors to visitors.
History of Amsterdam’s Windmills
Windmills have been an integral part of Amsterdam’s landscape since the 13th century. Originally erected to combat the city’s persistent flooding, these engineering marvels pumped water out of the lowlands and into the rivers beyond the dikes.
At their peak, over 10,000 windmills dotted Amsterdam, fulfilling diverse roles from grinding to sawing wood. As the city modernized, many mills were dismantled or relocated, but the few that remain stand as proud reminders of Amsterdam’s innovative spirit and resilience against nature’s challenges. Today, they are cherished landmarks, drawing visitors keen to connect with the city’s historic heart.
Frequently asked questions about Windmills in Amsterdam
Why is Amsterdam famous for windmills?
Amsterdam’s mills, dating back to the 13th century, were essential for draining water from the lowlands and combating frequent floods. Over time, they took on roles from grinding grain to sawing timber. These iconic structures have become synonymous with innovation, making Amsterdam’s skyline unmistakably unique and deeply rooted in its historical ingenuity.
Is it worth seeing the windmills in Dutch countryside?
Absolutely! Visiting Amsterdam’s windmills and the surrounding area offers a peek into the city’s industrious past. These iconic landmarks, beyond their picturesque charm, showcase the nation’s engineering and resilience. Whether exploring their inner workings or simply admiring from afar, the wind and watermills provide a tangible connection to Amsterdam’s rich history, making them a must-see for any visitor.
How close are Dutch windmills to Amsterdam?
Windmills are sprinkled throughout Amsterdam, with a few remaining in the city itself. However, the historic villages of Zaanse Schans, showcasing an authentic collection, are a mere 20-minute drive from the hustle and bustle. This proximity offers visitors a convenient blend of urban exploration and a step back into Amsterdam’s industrious past.
How to see windmills around Amsterdam?
To see Amsterdam’s windmills, start with the few city-located ones like De Gooyer windmill. For similar experiences, head to Zaanse Schans, easily accessible by train, bus, or bike. Here, you can wander among historic windmills, enter some, and learn about their varied roles. Or, if you want to veer off the beaten path, check out Riekermolen, the grind chalk mill located along the Amstel River. Guided tours and boat trips also provide informative windmill-focused excursions.
What village near Amsterdam has windmills?
Zaanse Schans, a picturesque destination just a short drive from Amsterdam, boasts a collection of well-preserved historic windmills. This town offers visitors a glimpse into the Netherlands’ industrial past and is a favorite destination for those keen to experience the traditional Dutch landscape, complete with iconic windmills, wooden houses, and artisan workshops. This area is one that most people have visited at least once in their lives.
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Das Reisen ist meine große Leidenschaft. Ich liebe es, die Wanderwege in Rio de Janeiro zu erkunden, die besten Strände in Miami zu entdecken, die ältesten Museen in Rom zu besuchen und noch die besten Gerichte in Paris zu verkosten.