Amsterdam - A greener way to travel?

With climate change is changing the way we travel we are constantly looking for ways to see the world smarter. Amsterdam is leading the way by introducing “green” trips to excite and educate all the family. We visited Zaandijk, a town in the municipality of Zaanstad in North Holland - and, approx. 11km from the capital.

Hotel Zaandijk Terrace, Amsterdam (Image: Boutique Hotel Zaan)
  • Where to stay

The traditional Boutique Hotel has the enviable location as it sits right on the edge of the River Zaan, so while you eat your Dutch breakfast, cooked mixed with continental, you can enjoy wonderful views of the windmills.Rooms are modern and spacious and mix well with the old-fashioned feel of the hotel which has lots of blasts from the past nick naks on show.

A family annexe building just down the road is great for those looking for more independence and is close by to a row of shops and restaurants.

Fun fact: Although a Dutch hotel, the cuisine in the restaurant is mainly Italian. Book at Boutique Hotel Zaan

Windmills (Image: Boutique Hotel Zaan)
  • What to Do

Windmill Watching

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Windmill watching is strangely therapeutic and good for the soul. And luckily for the green suburb of Zaandijk, there are plenty of these majestic maestros to admire. Just 15 minutes out of the picturesque city, Zaandijk, home to just over 8,000 people is like another world. Sitting on the banks of the River Zaan, the houses are wooden fronted and oozing with chocolate box cuteness and they form part of a village dominated by windmills dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries, which were used to grind spices, flour and pigments.

Now a working museum, you can spend a few hours gazing at the beauty of the simple windmills, enjoy watching and buying home made handicrafts, download an app to allow you to walk or cycle around the beautiful scenery which winds its way around the museum or even take a ride on an old cattle boat down the river. There is also a windmillhopper boat which lets you weave in and out of the windmills while you listen to a history of these classic beauties.

The Zaans museum opened in 1988 to protect the heritage of the area and in the middle is The Verkade. Experience where you can imagine yourself in a 20th century chocolate and biscuit factory. The delicious smells which are in the air as you arrive, are certainly an incentive to visit! The area is so beautiful that French painter Claude Monet visited in 1871 and produced 25 creations in its honour.

Fun fact: Zaandijk is one of the smallest villages in the area, but has some of the most upmarket houses and shops in the area. Visit Dezaanseschans for more information

Zaandijk Museums (Image: Boutique Hotel Zaan)

Galleries & Museums

Once you have enjoyed the windmill magic, a 15 minute ride into downtown Amsterdam will leave you with a choice of hundreds of galleries and museums. Art lovers will enjoy a visit to the Rijksmuseum and The Van Gogh Collection. Like most museums in Amsterdam, you need to book a time slot before visiting, helping cut down on waiting times.

With floors groaning with master pieces by Rembrandt, Frans Hals and Van Gogh, the Netherlands most famous artists, you are spoilt for choice. The Van Gogh museum is dedicated to the great man’s works from The Sunflowers to The Potato Eaters and at the moment there is a exhibition of photographs and charcoal drawings by Marcel van Eeden, inspired by Van Gogh’s drawing, Gasworks. Also for fans of Vienna’s golden boy, Gustav Klimt, there is a collection dedicated to his works, including the life sized reproduction of the Beethoven Frieze.

As well as the painters, Amsterdam was home for teenager Anne Frank, who with her family, was forced into hiding in 1942 to escape Nazi Germany’s targeting of Jewish people during World War II. During her time hidden in a secret annex her father’s work’s building, Anne wrote a diary of her days and this was found years later by her father Otto after he became the only survivor of the concentration camps, the family was sent to.

The powerful diary was published in 1947 and in 1960, the building the family hid in, became a museum in her honour. Today, you can tour with an audio guide and hear the family’s struggle for survival and see the building and secret annex as it was when they lived there.

Fun fact: You can brush up on your art knowledge with a guided tour here Rijks Museum

Starry Night and not Sunflowers is said to be Van Gogh’s most famous painting. Visit Van Gogh Museum

Anne Frank was inspired to write her diaries after hearing an appeal on Radio Orange to keep war memories and documents. Visit Anne Frank

A tour boat is passing by through the canal - Singel.
  • Tourist Information

A compact city, Amsterdam can be enjoyed on foot, by tram or on a canal barge. The I Amsterdam card enables you to see as much as you can and travel easily in the time you have available.


Fun fact: With each card, you get a taste of the Dutch produced Tony’s Chocolonely, visit I Amsterdam