Flights to Zaanstad
Zaanstad is a municipality in the province of North Holland, and is only a short distance away from Amsterdam. Zaanstad consists of seven towns and villages, the largest of which is Zaandam, and the region features many historic windmills.
You can’t get a flight to Zaanstad directly as there is no airport here, however, it is only 16 kilometres away from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (airport code: AMS). Several major airlines have 1-stop flights to Amsterdam from South Africa, so you should have no trouble finding a convenient flight to Zaanstad. Swiss Air makes a connection in Zurich and South African Airways goes through Cairo. That is also where Egyptair makes its transfer. You can also stop in London with British Airways. Flights to Zaanstad are between 13 and 18 hours long.
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The Tourist Attractions of Zaanstad:
With seven towns and villages to choose from it shouldn’t be difficult to find a place to stay in the municipality of Zaanstad. You’ll also have a lot of choice as to where you want to visit, and, with Amsterdam being so close by you can easily take several day trips into the Netherlands’ capital city if you’d like to. There are regular trains and buses running from the main town in Zaanstad, Zaandam, throughout the day and evening, making it a quick and easy journey into Amsterdam. For this reason you could even consider saving yourself some money on a hotel and staying in Zaanstad rather than in the centre of Amsterdam, as if you shop around prices are likely to be cheaper and there will also likely be better availability.
The Zaanstad region is best known for its historic windmills. This was an industrial area long before the discovery of steam power because all of the industry was powered by wind, hence there were large number of windmills making use of the flat terrain and windy weather. Unlike some parts of Holland and the Netherlands, where there aren’t many windmills left, the Zaanstad region has kept many of them and they have become the main tourist attraction here.
Perhaps the best place to go for a large collection of windmills is Zaanse Schans. This is a neighbourhood of the city of Zaandam and it has around 35 well preserved windmills to see, all contained within an open air museum. There are some wonderful examples of windmills to see here from different periods, but all constructed some time after the 1570s.
Right across the water from Zaanse Schans is another popular tourist attraction for Zaanstad. Located in Zaandam, the Zaans Museum is housed within a purpose built, modern building that contrasts greatly to the nearby windmills. Inside, the museum focuses on the history of the region, known as Zaan, showing the cultural heritage of the area as well as how industry affected its growth.
The Zaans Museum also overseas another local tourist attraction in Zaanstad, the Tsar Peter House. This is a small historic house where Peter I of Russia lived towards the end of the 17th century.
When Should You Visit?:
April and May can be good months to visit Zaanstad as they are two months with some of the lowest rainfall. April is a little cool, at 14C, but May warms up to a pleasant 18C. July and August have an average high of 23C but more rainfall. Whatever time of year you visit you should come prepared for rain anyway, and in the winter come prepared for cool, wet weather.