Most people go to Holland for the city of Amsterdam but never realize that there are a multitude of other locations that are worth visiting. Zaandam, for example, in North Holland, is one of these locations. It is a small town located on the Zaan River and is actually quite close to the more popular city of Amsterdam. While it does not enjoy the notoriety that the capital enjoys, the area around Zaandam has played an important role throughout the history of Holland, especially beginning with the Industrial Revolution. Indeed, it was a pivotal region for the development of industry and has served as a substantially significant milling center.
Shipbuilding and paper industries were supported by wood from Scandinavia that was being processed in the Zaan River area around Zaandam. Whaling was also important for the area’s economy. Its importance in the lumber industry actually continued throughout the second half of the 1900s and a statue was commissioned, called “The Woodworker” to honor this role. The statue was installed on June 20, 2004. Today, you can visit monuments such as the “Czar Peter House”, where Peter I of Russia stayed during his visit to Zaandam in the 17th century, as well as the first European McDonald’s, which opened in Zaandam in 1971. Besides historically important buildings, though, Zaandam’s peaceful countryside should definitely be on any tourist’s “to see” list.