Some of Claude Monet’s famous paintings are actually of the Netherlands. Between the years 1870 and 1880, Monet made several trips to this beautiful country. It seems that the Netherlands provided the French impressionist with plenty of inspiration. Monet painted over 42 Dutch landscapes and cityscapes!
Monet also loved the city of Amsterdam (as any tourist does!). However, he was most captivated with those picture-perfect Dutch landscapes. Windmills, tulip fields, lush green fields, wooden houses and bobbing sailing boats on the pretty canals…. So much beauty to behold!
Zaandam Captivates the Monet Family
To steer well away from the Franco-Prussian war, Monet and his family left Paris for London. During this period in 1871, the Monet family went on a vacation to Zaandam, a small pretty town not far from Amsterdam.
The Monets loved Zaandam so much, that they ended up staying for four months. Claude Monet felt inspired by everything he saw around him. He loved the wooden houses, the nearby shipyard and the hundreds of working windmills providing power to all the industrial workshops.
The French impressionist couldn’t paint fast enough. During his four months in Zaandam, Monet painted 24 landscapes of the town and its surroundings.
In a letter to his friend Camille Pissarro, he wrote:
‘Zaandam is quite remarkable and there is enough to paint for a lifetime. Houses in all colors, hundreds of mills, and delightful boats.’
Many of those views in Monet landscapes are still recognizable today.
Zaandam Travel in the Footsteps of Monet
Zaandam and its surroundings are still enchanting the tourists. This city is only a stone throw away from Amsterdam (half an hour by bus or fifteen minutes by train or car).
Zaandam is most famous for the Zaanse Schans, the Zaan river and the annual running event from Amsterdam to Zaandam. Two centuries after Monet fell in love with this place, it is still a wonderful destination to visit.
The most famous attraction is the Zaanse Schans. When you arrive, you will feel like you are walking back in time. Back in 1871 when Monet was setting up his easel and painting these same exact views. Stroll around the old wooden houses, pop into the bakery museum or check out the clog warehouse where they are still made today.
After a visit, you will understand why Monet couldn’t leave!
Go on a Walking Tour in the Footsteps of Monet in Zaandam
The Monet Foundation of Zaandam offers groups a tailor-made Monet walking tour. In this 1.5 hour walking tour, you will see many of the places painted by Monet. The guide will take you back in time to June of 1871 when Claude Monet made this place his home for four months.
The Monet Walk costs € 10 per person with a minimum of 5 people and a maximum of 20 people. Alternatively, a regular Monet Walk of approximately one hour starts every Sunday at 2.30 p.m. If you are interested, I suggest sending them an email to email@example.com
Monet’s Painting Studio ( The Monet Atelier )
Claude Monet’s painting studio in Zaandam is open to the public and is free of charge. Today it serves as a small museum dedicated to Monet’s period in Zaandam. You will not see original Monet paintings here but rather 25 replicas of Monet’s landscapes of this region. Many of these replicas were painted by famous Zaandam painters. You only need half an hour for this museum but I highly recommended going if you are a Monet fan!
For more information, press here.