Zaandam on the Zaan river is about 15km north west of Amsterdam. At the end of the C16th this was an important shipbuilding centre and Tsar Peter the Great came to learn shipbuilding here. There is a statue of him in the main square and the house he lived in has been preserved as a museum, protected by a more modern outer brick building. The tiny wooden house was built in 1632 as a labourer’s cottage and is one of the oldest houses in the Netherlands.
Zaandam is still an important port with a lot of river traffic and has a lifting bridge and locks. The large white Advocate’s building was probably originally one of the harbour administration buildings.
Zaandam doesn’t really feature as a tourist destination, although there are some nice old wooden houses and it does repay time exploring the streets around the harbour area with its old wooden houses and clog maker with a display of brightly coloured clogs above the roof.
It is also a good base for visiting the Open Air museum at”Zannse Schans.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/holland/day_three/index.html
There are more pictures of Zaandam “here.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/holland/day_two/zaandam/index.html