Henry Poon's Blog

Windmills, Canals, and Cheese: A Journey Through Edam, Marken, Volendam, and Zaanse Schans

The following blog post was written with the assistance of AI

Among the iconic varieties of Dutch cheeses, Edam stands out with its distinctive round shape and unmistakable mild, nutty flavour.

Originating from the picturesque town of Edam in the Netherlands, this cheese has a storied history dating back centuries. We visited the Henri Willig cheese store and a lot of fun sampling different flavours of cheese, and brought back home a 2kg ball of Edam.

Edam boasts a rich history steeped in maritime trade and medieval architecture. Strolling along its cobblestone streets, it felt like I transported back in time, passing by canals, centuries-old bridges, and beautifully preserved gabled houses. It’s only a short 30-minute car ride from Amsterdam, and is a popular destination for cycling tours too.

The town’s iconic cheese market (though closed on the day we visited), would have added a dash of old-world charm.

Moving on from Edam, we reached the nearby village of Marken, a village nestled on a serene island in the Markermeer. We wandered through its picturesque streets and admired the architecture of the quaint wooden houses.

Eventually, we reached the harbourfront and enjoyed the scenery. Life here seemed so much simpler, free of the complexities of modern life. It’s as if each day begins with the gentle lapping of waves against the shores and the sun rising over the horizon, casting a golden glow on the water. And in this small town, all the neighbours know each other by name and a greeting is never far away. The slower pace of life allows for a deeper appreciation of nature’s beauty. Sunsets over the water become daily spectacles, with evenings spent savouring simple pleasures – perhaps a freshly caught fish grilled by the water’s edge or a bonfire on the beach.

Though not far from Marken, immediately we’re teleported back to civilization. Their presence reminds us of how the Netherlands has advanced so much from the olden days of windmills.

Our next destination, was a nearby village called Volendam. We walked briefly along the seashore and along the inner streets, but didn’t stay long. After our enchanting experience in Marken, Volendam seemed to echo the same charm of Marken.

In a bit of a shift, we moved away from oceanside villages and made our way to the last destination of the day at the windmills of Zaanse Schans. Zaanse Schans is a living open-air museum that whisks visitors back in time to the Dutch Golden Age. This captivating village showcases an array of meticulously preserved windmills, offering a genuine glimpse into the Netherlands’ rich industrial heritage. After so many visits to the Netherlands, this was actually my first time seeing actual windmills!

As we tried to enjoy the scenery around us, one visitor found himself in a sneezing spree from the pollen-rich air. The sneezes were so strong we could see the particles coming out, and it was tough walking behind him ever since having to deal with COVID. It was kind of comical.

Here’s more of Edam, Marken, Volendam, and Zaanse Schans

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