Once upon a time, the Russian Tsar Peter the Great came to the Netherlands with the intention to learn about Dutch shipbuilding techniques. He lodged with Gerrit Kist, a blacksmith whom he had previously employed in St. Petersburg. Gerrit’s humble dwelling was a little wooden cottage in the Zaan region. Tsar Peter the Great stayed incognito for 7 nights, sleeping in Gerrit’s box bed. This was in August 1697.
The Tsar Peter House is probably the oldest house in Zaandam and one of the oldest wooden houses in the Netherlands. This house was built as a laborer’s cottage in 1632 using woods from old ships. Its interior was filled only with the bare necessities. Since it is a 17th century historical building, a stone roof was added in 1823, the foundation was later repaired and eventually a chapel-like stone building was erected many years later to protect its existence. Tsar Peter’s House is now a building within a building both guarded as listed national monuments.
One of the interesting part about this historic house is the graffiti of past (famous & important) visitors on the walls. I have read that Napoleon visited in 1811 and left a marking in the form of a large blue N, next to the fireplace. Other than that, check out the memorabilia and the explanation provided in three languages (Dutch, English and Russian).
My visit lasted a short thirty-minute. Only for the curious minds.
Website: http://zaansmuseum.nl/museum/czaar-peterhuisje/ (also in English)
Address: Krimp 23. 1506AA Zaandam.
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday from 10am -5pm
Entrance fees: €3.00 (adults), €2.00 (4-7yrs) and kids 0-4 yrs are free
Free entry for Museum Card holder and I Amsterdam City Card.
Less than 15 minutes by train from Amsterdam Central station to Zaandam train station followed by a 10-minute walk. It is tucked away looking like an abandoned area behind a supermarket!
–> Just around the bend, Monet’s Blue House