The working, inhabited village Zaanse Schans functions as a windmill gallery on the Zaan river. You can explore the authentic windmills at your own pace, seeing the vast moving parts firsthand. Individual windmill hours and days vary.
Artists will love the mill with paint pigments for sale – you can see the actual materials used in producing Renaissance masterpieces turned into powders.
The other buildings have been brought here from all over the country to recreate a 17th-century community. There's a cheese maker, early Albert Heijn market, and a popular clog factory (which has a surprisingly interesting museum) that makes wooden shoes. The engaging pewter-smith will explain the story behind dozens of tiny figures while the soft metal sets in the moulds.
Once you've finished exploring the village, take a boat across the Zaan river.