Zaanse Schans: A Playland in the Netherlands Just Outside of Amsterdam

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Back in the very beginning days of Scott + Kristin—in 2005, before there hardly was such a thing—we lived in Holland. I shared a bed with my best friend Megan in the attic of some horrid Surinamese woman’s home in Utrecht (I really must tell you that story one day); Scott lived a half an hour away by bike in his own roomy digs in Zeist. Luckily, none of us were ever home much, as we looked at Europe as our playground. And sometimes, that included indulging in even the most touristy of activities.

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And in Holland, touristy translates to, well, windmills and wooden shoes.

zaanse schans, netherlands, holland, europe, living abroad, amsterdam

And funny-looking wax women from the days of yore.

zaanse schans, netherlands, holland, europe, living abroad, amsterdam

You see, in Zaanse Schans, just a 20-minute train ride north of Amsterdam, there’s about the most touristy living museum you’ll ever find. Which obviously meant we had to go. Stat.

zaanse schans, netherlands, holland, europe, living abroad, amsterdam

There was also a cheesemaker and blacksmith shop, but we preferred to spend our time frolicking among the windmills, like quintessential (wannabe) Dutch children.

zaanse schans, netherlands, holland, europe, living abroad, amsterdam

But once the sun sank down behind the dikes and canals and valleys, our day of childish fun wasn’t over yet. En route back to our respective homes, we swung by Amsterdam, hit up the night Christmas market and took a spin on the carousel.

zaanse schans, netherlands, holland, europe, living abroad, amsterdam

And it’s exactly carefree days like these, with nothing on our plates and not a worry in the world, that I miss about our time living in Europe. Oh, to be 22, jobless, homeless and blissfully unaware like that again. Instead, I’m one week shy of 27, in a constant state of stress over deadlines and from where the next paycheck might come, living in an amazing apartment in the most amazing city with an even more amazing dude, who I happened to fall in love with somewhere among all the windmills and cheese and wooden shoes and am now marrying in just 99 days—so hey, things aren’t looking too bad either way.

zaanse schans, netherlands, holland, europe, living abroad, amsterdam

  • February 12, 2010

    We are thinking about hitting Amsterdam this year…suggestions, thoughts?

  • February 12, 2010

    You look so cute and sprightly! I like your hair like that. And I LOVE the three of you in the giant clog. Crop the other girl out and THAT can be your wedding invitation…..

  • February 12, 2010

    Classic! Sometimes a bit of cheesy, touristic action is what’s called for!

  • February 12, 2010

    Wow, 99 days! That’s nothing! Agree with Holly–love the hair. It’s Carrie Bradshaw But Better.

  • February 12, 2010

    Adulthood has its drawbacks, but it sure has its perks too 🙂

  • February 12, 2010

    What lovely memories!!! Your hair looks amazing in the photos btw.

    HAPPY EARLY BDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! XOXOXO

  • February 12, 2010

    Ha! Great photos! I especially love the one of you guys standing in over-sized shoes. Thanks for making me smile today — happy Friday.

  • February 12, 2010

    You have more fun than anyone I know! I want to stand in YOUR (wooden) shoes sometime!

  • February 12, 2010

    Ah the carefree days. You are so fortunate to have lived in this European playground and that got you where you are today, successful, stressed and in love. What more could you ask for?

  • February 12, 2010

    I wish I’d bought a cASE of that cheese. Earthy, smoked gouda in wax tubes. yum. They make clogs at this place right in front of you with an amazing pre-industrial contraption. Not many Americans either if I recall..

  • February 12, 2010


    I am so happy that your mom gave us an update on everything that you and Kari are into right now. I have really enjoyed reading of your travels, and you are such a talented writer. Did you inherit that from Greg? Ha! Ha! We had some really good times, but I do not remember reading anything by GL.
    Congratulations on your engagement! I know that you are very excited. Your special day is coming up very soon. SVV is such a handsome young man, and I really enjoyed reading about how the two of you met.
    This is getting lengthy, so I will hush.

    Tell everyone hello for me.

    Happy Travels,
    Debra Lovelady

  • February 14, 2010


    We’ve been there on our open ended world family tour!

    It’s a fantastic & educational place for kids….of all ages!

  • February 15, 2010

    Visiting Zaanse Schans was one of my favourite touristy things to do in the Netherlands. Whenever I had any visitors there, I always took them for a day of windmills, cheese, and clogs. I too was 22, jobless, and homeless…but hey, it was one of the most freeing years of my life! Yay Holland 🙂

  • February 18, 2010

    I totally have your second picture, only with me and my mom in the shoes instead. We visited Zaanse Schans when she came to see me on my break during my study abroad year in Germany when I too was so blissfully young and unaware. Ah, those days.

  • June 2, 2013

    Man I wish I could go and explore some of the beautiful countries that you do. I love the giant shoe pictures!

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