Netherlands – Volendam & Zaanse Schans


4 words summarize Holland: clogs, cheese, tulips, windmills

What do clogs and cheese have in common? Nothing? Think again. The yellow paint used on cheese to prevent moulding is also used to paint the clogs, for the poorer folks who can’t afford to buy paint. And the wood shavings from the carvings of the clogs are also used to fuel the furnace to make the cheese. Symbiotic relationship. That’s how they ended up in the same factory. Traditionally, the Dutch guys are supposed to carve a pair of clogs for their woman if he intended to marry her, something like an object for proposal; and from there, the woman will decide on the guy’s level of skills, hence, to marry him or not.




Volendam is a pretty fishing village, located next to the sea, it looks something like San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. Shops and streets are pretty but unfortunately it was raining with very strong winds when we reached here, and very cold too. Didn’t stop me from exploring the village though, even with very limited time and my non-waterproof hoodie. Lots of street side stalls here selling various seafood snacks too.



Zaanse Schans

Netherlands seems to have strong winds all the time, it is the reason for their windmills being so popular as a source of energy. We went on to Zaanse Schans, a 17th century village, with a collection of well-preserved historic windmills and houses. Still raining here, but we rather ignored it and continued walking on to check out all the awesome windmills in the picturesque little village, while the rest are busy hiding in souvenir shops or cafes.



Angry birds flying away!

Talking about rain and strong winds, the funniest thing happened while we were walking the village in Volendam. Our friends Ms. Pretty#1 and Ms. Pretty#2 had apparently bought 2 very pretty little umbrellas (namely: Angry Bird designs – pink & blue), just for this purpose. So they were very excited to finally get to use them for the first time, as it hasn’t been raining in the rest of Europe.

Open sesame! ….and guess what happened? Their poor angry birds didn’t stand a chance against the furious winds of Netherlands! Both umbrellas overturned in no time! It was truly a hilarious sight: 2 pretty girls wearing pretty jackets with matching scarves, boots and furry hats, both holding overturned brollies, not sure which part of their body they should cover with their tiny bowl-shaped brolly now! Hehe… should have taken a photo of this scene. Classic! 😉

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