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Amsterdam, Netherlands: Zaanse Schans-The Windmill Village

The windmill village just outside Amsterdam, in the Zaan region, used to have over 500 windmills that ran at the same time.

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Presently there are 10 industrial windmills at Zaanse Schans that still ‘spin’ away at this location. Click on that link to get further information from its website about the different windmills, and what they are being used for today.

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The one windmill that I can tell from the pictures is De Gekroonde Poelenburg. It says that there used to be over 200 windmills of this kind (sawmill) in this area.

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Following the windmills at the site was a demonstration on how to make cheese at Cheese Farm Catharina Hoeve, and then a small tasting of a few different types following the demonstration.

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There were 10 steps to prepare and make cheese, beginning from getting the milk and heating it up to a proper temperature. It requires 10 liters of milk to make 1 kilogram of cheese. It is then separated into curds and whey (cheese and water) using 3 special blades. At this stage, it is 90% whey and only 10% curds, and the cheese is pressed for 2 hours and then put into a saltwater solution (80:20 ratio). After the salt water step, it is dried and plastic is put around the cheese for preservation.

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Cheese making is an learned craft, and while I now have an appreciation for the hands on requirements in making it, I’ll just stick with enjoying the end result – taste testing and snacking time!

Among the samples of gouda, goat, and herb cheeses, my favorite was pesto cheese. It also had quite a vibrant green color.

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Coming to Amsterdam, I didn’t have any expectations or any ideas what we would be seeing. The windmills were a pretty cool site. It’s a site that is different from anywhere else I’ve been to.

Happy travels friends.

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