Industrieel erfgoed – Cycleseeing in and around Amsterdam
Includes a ferry crossing
Check ferry timetable.
1 in total
Bike Touring Highlight
I amsterdam planned a bike ride.
June 10, 2021
Amsterdam would not be Amsterdam without Zaandam and, on this Tour, you will experience the city’s strong ties to its industrial past. In this part of the Netherlands, people have lived in the shadow of huge factories for over a century. Some are still in use while others have been converted into flats or cultural hotspots. But the real gem of this trip is the Zaanse Schans – a living village of windmills, wooden houses and craft workshops that seems to stand still in time.
The journey begins at the Silodam, a 19th-century wheat warehouse. Look out for the gigantic 'n' shaped building known as the Pontsteiger – this luxury apartment complex has the most expensive flat in Amsterdam, worth a whopping 15 million euros. You then cycle under the trees along Nieuwe Hemweg towards Neptunushaven. Here, in the enormous warehouses, raw materials such as cocoa are stored before being distributed.
While you wait for the ferry, take a selfie next to the gigantic statue of the kissing couple. The ferry takes you to the Hembrug site, which you cycle to with the North Sea Canal on your right. The white building is a former munitions factory. Walk around the corner and cycle along the typical Havenbuurt.
To your right is William Pont island. Although you wouldn't know it now with all those modern apartment buildings, this small island was once a hub of the Dutch timber industry. It was run by the prosperous merchant William Pont, who moved his business from Edam to Zaandam after the completion of the North Sea Canal in 1876.
When you are ready for a coffee break, visit café 'De Koperen Bel' on Dam Square, or relax at one of the other cafés, restaurants and bakeries in the lively centre of Zaandam. On the way to the Zaanse Schans, you will pass the Bullekerk church (also known as the Westzijderkerk). The name bulle means ‘bull’ and comes from the story of a farmer and his pregnant wife who were mauled by one such creature in 1647. You'll also cycle past Verkade's iconic biscuit and chocolate factory. It started as a single bakery in 1886 and eventually expanded across the dyke to the west, where some of the buildings are still used. Further on, 'De Bleeke Dood' (c. 1656) stands, the oldest wooden tower windmill in the Netherlands.
The Zaanse Schans has come to life as a 19th-century Dutch masterpiece – an area dotted with windmills, craft shops and lovingly preserved houses. Visit the impressive Zaans Museum to learn more about the history of the area, see clogs from centuries ago in the Klompenmakerij or follow your nose to the Verkade Experience.
You set off for Amsterdam again and pass through Haaldersbroek, a picturesque fishing village. Less than 200 people live there. At Haaldersbroek 11, you will see the oldest house, dating from around 1661.
You will also cycle past Gerkens – one of the largest cocoa producers in the Netherlands – and a series of old houses and factories. At Oostzijde 82, you can see the neoclassical Church of the Apostolic Society. Admire the other impressive and award-winning modern architecture along the water.
Once at Zuiddijk, cycle through the residential streets with beautiful old houses, then through the bicycle tunnel under the Den Uylweg back towards Amsterdam. Cycle along the Noorder IJ-Plas with the Noorder IJpolder lake on your left. There is lots of greenery and plenty of birds to spot around the water. You then pass through the Amsterdam Marina, with its curious mix of commercial hubs and shipyards. Restaurant Loetje aan het IJ has a beautiful panoramic view of the entire marina.
The finish of the route is at the NDSM shipyard, once the largest shipyard in Europe. At its peak in the 20th century, thousands of people worked here on cargo ships and oil tankers. Since the closure of the shipyard in 1984, the area has been redeveloped as a start-up hub that you can explore on foot.