About 4km north of Zaandam, Zaanse Schans is a re-created Dutch village whose antique houses, shops, warehouses and windmills, mostly dating from the eighteenth century, were brought here from all over the region half a century ago and re-erected amid a network of narrow canals. It’s a popular day-trip from Amsterdam and can get very crowded in summer, but it’s a real village too – all the businesses are real, even though they derive most of their income from tourists, and all the houses are lived in year-round by people who have opted to move and work here. It’s also the closest place to Amsterdam to see fully functioning windmills.

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