Houses on the Klaveringdijk
Zaanse Schans is an old hamlet on the banks of the River Zaan, made up of various buildings, some of which are original to the site, and some which have been moved and re-erected here.
Whilst some of the buildings are privately occupied, many are open to the public (check the web site, however, as opening hours and seasons vary from building to building). There is also a fascinating, but rather depressing, purpose built museum, a cheese makers, a wooden shoemakers, and a couple of restaurants; I can recommend the pancakes in the Restaurant De Kraai.
The highlight of the site, however, is the collection of historic windmills. At one time there were over 200 of these lining the banks of the Zaan, and were the reason that this area became so heavily industrialised. Now they are reduced to a handful, eight of which are on the Zaanse Schans site.
As well as being an enjoyable day out, Zaanse Schans also provides a good introduction to the Dutch countryside, its people, and their traditional way of life. All in all a good way to get out of Amsterdam and get a feel for the rest of the country.