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Netherlands - Stormy Sky over Zaandam/Zaanse Schans Windmills | by © Lucie Debelkova /
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Netherlands - Stormy Sky over Zaandam/Zaanse Schans Windmills

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Zaandam/Zaanse Schans is an open air museum that recreates a Dutch village with wooden houses and windmills dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. This small village is actually a collection of wooden houses and windmills from the whole Zaan (a river) region. When these houses where threatend due to post war city development it was decided to move them to this one location, giving the impression of a Zaan village of times past by.


Among its attractions are; a wood mill, a mustard mill, a paint mill, a (traditional)cheese factory, a wooden shoe museum/workshop, a bakery, a candystore, a grocery store, a clock museum, a tin factory, a pancake restaurant and a top end restaurant. Many of the houses in the village are museums or shops, but people also live here, so take care not to step into someone's private garden. The village is free to visit, but most museums ask a fee. The village can become rather touristy in the summer, but is your quickest trip to see some windmills and (small scale) polders, or just to have a walk.


Not only photographers visit this place, also Claude Monet paid three visits to the Netherlands. During the first of these visits he spent four months in Zaandam with his wife and child. The painter thought it ‘all very amusing. Houses in every colour, mills by the hundred and delightful boats, exceptionally friendly Hollanders who almost all speak French.’ He wrote to his friend Camille Pissarro that there was enought to paint for an entire lifetime. Or at any rate for an entire summer, as no less than 24 canvases survive from his time in Zaandam.


PENTAX K20D, f/9.5, 0.003 sec (1/350), ISO 100, 55 mm


All rights reserved - Copyright © Lucie Debelkova


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Taken on April 13, 2008