Schiedam is a historic municipality and city in South Holland. It has a population of around 76,000 people. It has some very nice canals to walk or cruise around and is well known for having the tallest historical windmills in the world. And also for its production of well known gin such as the Ketel One brand. The gin production was the source of much of the wealth that built the city into what it is today.
History Of Schiedam
Schiedam was first made into a village in the year 1230 when the local river, The Schie, had a dam built on it to protect it from the sea, by Lord Wassanaer and Dirk Bokel. The dam brought much trade to the area, due to goods being brought to, or transported from the area, to towns such as Leiden, Delft and Haarlem. The village quickly grew and in the year 1275 received a charter to become a city from the sister of William The 2nd. She also built a castle in the area that you can still see today.
In 1340 two other cities, Delft and Rotterdam built connections with the fast growing city. In the 1400’s Schiedam became a pilgrim city for those devoted to Saint Lidwina, who had lived in the area. Large parts of the city were destroyed by fire in the year 1428, due to most of the buildings being made of wood. But the city was rebuilt and again, flourished. During the 1700’s there began the production of Gin. The trade took off and soon there were many distilleries making it. It was traded with many parts of the world and brought great wealth to the area.
During this time 5 huge windmills were built, so that they could get the wind from over the top of the tall industrial buildings. In the mid 19th century the fist serious train crash in The Netherlands happened near the town with 3 fatalities. Throughout the 20th century the main source of income for the city was it’s shipbuilding industry. The industry thrived throughout the century but began to decline later on. Although a great deal of new housing was built and the population expanded, the city’s industry declined and many people who live in Schiedam now work in Rotterdam.
Getting To And Around Schiedam
If you are flying into Schiedam, probably the cheapest and most convenient airport is Rotterdam The Hague Airport. There is no direct train or bus from the airport to Schiedam. Probably the easiest way to get there is to get the 33 bus which has a good service to Centraal Station, in Rotterdam. From there it is only about 5 min’s on the train to Schiedam Centrum station. If you are traveling from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, you can get the fast train called the Fyra, change at Breda and Rotterdam Centraal. You should be there in under three quarters of an hour.
If you are traveling by train to Schiedam, there is an excellent service with direct trains, or connections from most parts of the country. There are trains from Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Maassluis, Dordrecht, Hoek van holland, Leiden, Delft, Haarlem and Den Haag. If you are driving to Schiedam, there are many car hire agencies in the airports and also in central Amsterdam. You will need to take the A4 and the A20, there are plenty of signed exits to Schiedam that will take you to the centre of the city. You will need to be careful where you park as much parking is reserved for resident and parking meters can be very expensive.
There are very good public transport services in Schiedam. You can travel by bus and tram to most parts of the city. To pay for your travel you will need an ov-chipkaart which can be bought and topped up with credit from most stations. Hiring a bicycle to get around town is a good idea and they can be hired cheaply in the city. If you would like to book a taxi, you can call one at, Schiedam Taxi Centrale, +31 10 410 2030, or, Travel Service Schiedam, 010-4266064
Tourism In Schiedam
Stedelijk Museum Schiedam has a lot of great exhibitions that are constantly changing, but are usually very well put together. It also has an excellent static collection of work by the Dutch collection of artists known as Cobra. The wind mills of Schiedam are the largest in the world and are definitely worth going to see. Depending on which windmills are open, you can get a guided tour, watch the sails go round from in the windmill and even have lunch in De Noord windmill. De Plantage is a beautiful park in Schiedam, near koemarkt. It is the oldest city park in Holland, and was set out around 1767.
Shopping And Eating In Schiedam
The biggest shopping mall in Schiedam is called “The Passage”. It is right in the center of the city and has a great selection of shops as well as some great boutiques and cafes to keep you going while you shop. It is very well served by public transport and is an easy walk from the city center.
Noordmolen Restaurant is actually inside a windmill and a great place for an evening out.The menu is mainly Dutch food and the staff are very helpful and will give you advice on what to choose. Excellent ambience and very good food. Lunchroom de Beurs is a cafe with healthy Dutch fast food. It is a great place to go for a break when visiting the windmills. Very good food served by cheerful stall and all at a very reasonable price. Hamachi is a sushi restaurant in the heart of the town. It is not like one of those brand sushi places. This is a real sushi restaurant with great fresh sushi and something for everyone.
If you want to visit Rotterdam, but do not want to stay in the busy part of the city, then Schiedam is a great place to stay. It is in easy reach of the city but also has its own character and some good shopping and restaurants as well.