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Planning a trip to Amsterdam & surrounding area

I hope to be in Amsterdam next fall and I’m looking at side trips. Anyone been to both Zaanse Schans and Arnhem Open Air Museum? They look fairly similar and was wondering which is better or do both. I am a fan of historic costumed interpreters like Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.

Posted by
21263 posts

Depending on your time you will find that at Enkhuizen Zuiderzee Open Air Museum. It is extremely well done and you could spend a half day or more. We took the museum package that took the 1830 steam train to port on the North Sea then the lake boat to the back side of the museum, walked through the museum and finally took a regular train back to Amsterdam. One of the re-enactments was smoking herring in the traditional method -- it looked bad but tasted great. It was a good outing. It is called the Historic Triangle tour.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you for the advice. Frees us up to do other things.

Posted by
26090 posts

I agree with both of the previous posters.

I've actually been to all three. One that it is unlikely I shall return to, and the other two I shall as often as possible.

The Zuiderzeemuseum at Enkhuizen is really good (and I happen to love the herring right out of the smoker) and concentrates, as the name says, on the now former (thanks to the dams after the 1953 floods) Zuidersee. So it has a fishing port vibe, essential to the history of the area.

The Open Air Museum just west of Arnhem is a delightful representation of the farm and other traditional buildings of former centuries. Taken there piece by piece from all over the country and rebuilt so you would never know they didn't sprout from the earth beneath your feet, they give a really good idea of the Netherlands in former years.

They have a different angle because of the different focus. Only Arnhem has the original trams (streetcars) going around the property. Only Enkhuizen has a landing craft for a ferry from the station to the museum.

Arnhem is a little further from Amsterdam, close to the German border - and is the location of the failed Allied Operation Market Garden.

The third, the one I won't likely see again, is a little too cutesy and disneyish for me. Sure you can watch klompen (clogs) being made and buy some mustard made in one of the windmills, but for me it is too close to Amsterdam and the proportion of international tour buses to families on a day out is too high.