Culture Day trips

4 villages near Amsterdam you must visit

4 typically Dutch villages near Amsterdam you must visit | Your Dutch Guide

Countless windmills, historic churches and fisherman’s cottages. The good ol’ fashioned Dutch villages near Amsterdam seem to have stood still in time. Some parts of them still look the same as they did 100 years ago and they’re of the few places where you can still see men and women dressed in traditional costume (though, more often they wear it on holidays). Zaanse Schans, Monnikendam, Broek in Waterland and Marken are picture perfect Dutch villages near Amsterdam and make for a perfect day trip. 

The windmills of Zaanse Schans

Can you believe that the impressive amount of old-fashioned windmills clutched together at Zaanse Schans were pretty much the first industrial site in the world? Hundreds of windmills along the Zaan river once produced linseed oil, paint, tobacco, mustard and paper. The dozen of windmills you can see and visit today are actually still working the traditional way and people are working there with care. Take your time to explore them at your own pace, it’s worth it, even though they seem like a tourist trap.

4 villages near Amsterdam you must visit: Zaanse Schans | Your Dutch Guide

4 villages near Amsterdam you must visit: Zaanse Schans | Your Dutch Guide

Other buildings in Zaanse Schans have been brought in from all over The Netherlands to create a Golden Age village. The clog museum in Zaanse Schans is actually rather interesting (yes, and this coming from a Dutchie who rolls her eyes at anything stereotypical). And it’s lovely to just take in all the old-fashioned architecture. Pressed for time? Take a Zaanse Schans sightseeing tour.

Typical Dutch hotel, hotel near Amsterdam: Inntel Hotel Amsterdam Zaandam | Your Dutch Guide

If you don’t mind being 15 minutes outside Amsterdam city centre (which you can easily reach by train), stay at the Inntel Hotel Amsterdam Zaandam, which is like a fun play on the traditional Dutch houses in Zaanse Schans and which offers amazingly comfortable rooms, a spa and a good restaurant for a very reasonable price compared to Amsterdam hotels.

Quiet and peaceful Monnickendam

A couple of years ago I had a work appointment in Monnickendam. I had never been there and thought ‘why can’t this client be based just somewhere normal, like in Utrecht, Amsterdam or The Hague, pff’. It was a Monday morning, rather early, when I caught the bus from Amsterdam central station. And when I got off in the small town centre of Monnickendam my jaw hit the floor.

Village near Amsterdam to visit: Monnickendam | Your Dutch Guide

Village near Amsterdam, day trip from Amsterdam | Your Dutch Guide

Basically, I ended up in what I imagined Holland fisherman’s towns would have looked like 200 years ago. With colourful, wooden cottages and small boats along the harbour, lace curtains in windows and nothing (but seriously nothing) going on. Remember, I am from The Netherlands, so I am often just as dumbstruck by something exceptionally Holland as most tourists. I highly recommend going to Monnickendam on a weekday morning, when it’s quiet and take in the relaxed atmosphere. You won’t be sorry. It’s only 15 minutes by bus from Amsterdam and Monnickendam can easily be explored in an hour or so, a nice little break if you don’t have much time.

Broek in Waterland

Whenever I see tourists and visitors writing about this, they call this place ‘Waterland’, but this is actually more like the region a little north of Amsterdam. The central village you have to visit however is Broek in Waterland. Ony 9 kilometres north of Amsterdam and easy to get to by bus. You couldn’t feel further though from the bustle of the Amsterdam canals, Rijksmuseum and Dam Square. Broek in Waterland is the perfect getaway if you would like to have an hour or two of quiet away from the city.

Villages near Amsterdam to visit: Broek in Waterland | Your Dutch Guide

Villages near Amsterdam, half a day trip from Amsterdam | Your Dutch Guide

Time seems to have stood still in Broek in Waterland, where picturesque Dutch wooden houses stand amongst green en canals. All inhabitants seem to prefer travelling by boat as they all seem to own one. Take a little boat trip yourself when you visit Broek in Waterland to take it all in.

Marken: a former island

A visit to Marken is pretty special, even for Dutch people. The fisherman’s village used to be a rather isolated island until it was linked up to the mainland in 1957. The car-free town centre, with wooden houses and clogs standing outside, seems like a picture from a history book. Visit the clog-making workshop and the museum with traditional clothing.

Day trip from Amsterdam, village near Amsterdam to visit: Marken | Your Dutch Guide

Day trip from Amsterdam, village near Amsterdam to visit: Marken | Your Dutch Guide

How to visit the villages near Amsterdam

  • Take the bus! If you’ve got an OV Chip Card to get around Amsterdam, you can easily use this card to take the regional busses. All regional buses leave from Amsterdam central station. Use this website to plan your trip.
  • Get on the hop on, hop off bus. With one bus pass you can easily visit 7 typically Dutch villages near Amsterdam, like the ones I mention above, but also Edam, Volendam and Purmerend (though the latter isn’t that interesting). The bus pass is well worth the money, though.
  • Would you like to see more less-than-touristy spots around Amsterdam? Check out my article on the highlights of Amsterdam Noord.
  • Plan your trip to Amsterdam using my extensive and complete Alternative guide to Amsterdam.

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4 typically Dutch villages near Amsterdam you must visit | Your Dutch Guide

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Karen
    May 25, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    Really love this! I’ve not been to Marken, but really want to visit. A lot of people don’t realize how close Amsterdam is to so many cute villages!

  • Reply
    Anda
    May 26, 2018 at 10:42 pm

    Ah, these villages are a photographer’s dream come true! Absolutely adorable! Your blog is such an inexhaustible source of information for great places to visit in the Netherlands. I’ll definitely add these to my list of places to visit.

  • Reply
    Rhonda Albom
    May 27, 2018 at 12:53 am

    I love the way the Inntel Hotel Amsterdam Zaandam looks like individual houses stacked on one another. Zaanse Schans is a town I’d like to visit. The effect of bringing in historic buildings and the working windmills showing how industry used to be is fascinating. Monnickendam looks like a village I would like to stay in overnight.

  • Reply
    sarah
    May 27, 2018 at 5:03 am

    I love this! Those towns all look like postcards! Would love to visit there someday!

  • Reply
    Rob+Ann
    May 27, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    This is fantastic! We hear and read so much about Amsterdam; it’s nice to read about these close-by areas. The fact that they are so easily accessible is great, and makes it even more of a mystery that you don’t often read about them. Zaanse Schans is right at the top of our Must See list, but every one of these villages seem idyllic!

  • Reply
    Jill
    May 27, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    I loved my one and only visit to Amsterdam but it was entirely too short. I’d love to go back and also visit these villages. I find that I enjoy visiting cities but I really love to get outside of cities and catch glimpses of life in small towns or the countryside.

    • Reply
      Esther
      May 28, 2018 at 9:46 am

      Ah, in that case a trip to The Netherlands, in general, is a good idea, Jill. As you can basically see so much within 30 minutes from Amsterdam. You could even consider skipping the city altogether (yes, shock horror).

  • Reply
    Goblinette
    May 27, 2018 at 10:19 pm

    We visited Zaanse Schans and loved it. It is a very romantic place, isn’t it?

    • Reply
      Esther
      May 28, 2018 at 9:47 am

      Haha, Zaanse Schans is not really my idea of romantic (I know better romantic spots in The Netherlands I guess), but yes, it is special.

  • Reply
    Elaine Masters
    May 28, 2018 at 7:15 am

    What wonders! Love the colors and architecture. Amazing too that some of the locals still wear traditional garb, even if only for holidays. The seaside pictures make me think of famous painters. Beautiful.

  • Reply
    Lolo
    May 28, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    I’ve been to Zaanse Schans twice now and loved it! But the rest of these are just stupidpretty!!!! I love them so much and I have wanted to see that awesome mixed building! Don’t know the name!

  • Reply
    Nancie
    May 28, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    All of these villages look worthy of a visit. The one I like the best is Zaanse Schans. That green coloured windmill is calling my name. Thanks for linking up this week.

  • Reply
    Lars and Michelle
    May 28, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    Such gorgeous little spots in the Netherlands! We visited Monnickendam- such a lovely little fishing village. Beautiful photos.

  • Reply
    Julie Lim
    May 29, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    These villages look so quaint and adorable. Will put at least one of ’em in my must-see places when I visit The Netherlands. Your photos are lovely too.

  • Reply
    David
    June 1, 2018 at 11:29 am

    Amsterdam definitely seems like a good place to base yourself when in the Netherlands. I’ve known for a while I want to visit Zaanse Schans but the others are new to me. Marken especially catches my eye. Great ideas for my next Dutch trip!

  • Reply
    David
    June 18, 2018 at 11:24 am

    Wow! Amazing villages! Love the windmills, such amazing scene. Also love the architecture and the colors of the buildings. Great work, thanks.

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