Nature walking trail ‘Laarzenpad’

Nature walking trail

The Schanszichtpad and Kalverpolder walking trail – a unique nature walk around the Zaanse Schans starting from the lookout tower…

The Schanszichtpad in the Zaanse Schans provides beautiful views over a typically Dutch landscape with windmills and meadows. Although the Zaanse Schans attracts millions of visitors, when you venture into the Kalverpolder, you will find yourself almost completely alone in an entirely different sort of world. The walk starts at the lookout tower next to the Zaanse Schans entrance, and takes you all the way around the site by means of the polder landscape and back again past the windmills. Please bear in mind that the trail is closed during nesting season (from 15 March to 15 June).

Nature walking trail

This is the only peat meadow area in the Zaan region where you can walk right across the polder. Although the polder is relatively small in area, it contains a variety of landscapes, including a meadow bird habitat to the east, peat moss reed beds in the center, and swamp reed beds to the west. The lookout tower behind the Zaans Museum provides an excellent view of these different landscapes. The management objective determines when sporadic mowing might be done here, with each management type resulting in different plant, animal and bird species. For example, you might spot a bittern in reeds but not in an open peat meadow, while black-tailed godwits are commonly spotted in meadows but not in marsh reed beds.

Nature walking trail

The Kalverpolder was reclaimed in the 17th century and is 420 acres in area. It is a protected nature reserve (Natura 2000) and is home to many plant and animal species, including protected species such as the tundra vole, the European bitterling and spined loach (fish species), and the pond bat. It is also a nesting habitat for numerous meadow and marsh birds such as the northern lapwing, black-tailed godwit, bittern and sedge warbler. During the summer months, you can book a tour on ‘De Koeienboot’ (The Cow Boat) from the Zaans Museum. This trip, which takes around 40 minutes, also passes by ‘De Hercules’, an American ‘roosmolen’ (literally ‘rose mill’, a multi-bladed windmill) on the eastern edge of the polder. This windmill was responsible for water drainage in the area from 1922 until 1993, after which an electric pumping station took over this important task.

Nature walking trail

Traveling through the Kalverpolder on the ‘koeienboot’ (‘cow boat’)

 Oak Lookout Tower (2013)
Based on traditional Zaan
timber construction principles
Design: DaF-architecten

  • Walking trail

  • Schansend-7B

  • Entry: free of charge

  • Open daily all year round;
    except during nesting season
    from 15 March to 15 June.
    During this period the walking trail is closed