If you have been to Zaanse Schans, you might have visited a particular small grocery-museum shop called Albert Heijn. It is this quaint nostalgic general store, a blast from the past!
Albert Heijn (1865 – 1945) took over his father’s grocery business on his wedding day on May 27, 1887. He was 21 years old at that time. The shop was a modest 12 square meters in size, located in a nearby town called Oostzaan, within the same Zaan region.
Albert’s wife would worked at the shop whilst he visited local farmers to buy merchandise and sell products. The shop opened seven days a week from 6am to 10pm. Many of their customers were farmers so the shop stocked farming tools such as ropes, pitchforks, spades, clogs, etc. Examples that can still be seen in the shop.
In fact, many of the interior objects are a careful collection of attributes from the start of time. Look out for the 18th century cash register, several coffee grinders, antique tobacco scales, a pair of bellows used to blow open paper bags for hygienic purposes, vintage storage containers and tins for coffee, tea and tobacco, barrels for liquids and lots of casks, chests, bins and jars filled with goods on shelves ready for sale. Just the way it was back in the days!
This Albert Heijn shop is actually a reconstruction of the first store. The original store no longer exists. The surface of this shop is slightly larger than the original consisting of a museum-shop on the front and a coffee exposition at the back of the building.
Visitors can enter freely to admire the details of the old grocer’s shop, ask the volunteers questions and you may contribute by means of buying old Dutch sweets, posters or cookies.
Continue along towards the back of the shop to learn about Albert Heijn’s Gold Perla coffee. Albert Heijn actually started roasting his own coffee at the back of his Oostzaan’s shop since 1895. Gold Perla coffee is an UTZ certified coffee blend which guarantees fair payment to its coffee farmers throughout the world. Try a cup for only €1.00!
Today, Albert Heijn is known as the largest Dutch supermarket chain in the Netherlands with nearly 970 stores. It all started within a shophouse like this.
This recreated first store was opened on 23 May 1967. Definitely one of the main (FREE) attractions in the Zaanse Schans village you should visit!
Address: Kalverringdijk 5, 1509 BT Zaandam.
Entrance Fees: FREE.
Opening Hours: Easter till 1 November from 1000hrs – 1630hrs. 1 November till Easter only Saturdays and Sundays from 1200hrs – 1600hrs.