[From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]
Zaandam (Dutch pronunciation: [zaːndɑm]) is a town in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. It is the main city of the municipality of Zaanstad, and received city rights in 1811. It is located on the Zaan, close to the North Sea Canal, and is close to Amsterdam.
The statistical district Zaandam, which covers the city and the surrounding countryside, has a population of around 72.597.
Zaandam was a separate municipality until 1974, when it became a part of the new municipality of Zaanstad.
Zaandam (formerly called Saenredam) and the surrounding Zaan River region, called the Zaanstreek, have a history that is intimately connected with industry.
In the Golden Age, Zaandam served as a large milling center. Thousands of windmills powered saws that were processing Scandinavian wood for the shipbuilding and paper industries. A statue was commissioned from the Yugoslav sculptor Slavomir Miletić in honor of this era, and the statue, “The Woodworker” (“De Houtwerker”), was installed on 20 June 2004.
Zaandam was a leading city in the first Industrial Revolution. Into the second half of the 20th century, Zaandam was still an important lumber port.
Zaandam is also historically linked with the whaling industry.
In 1697 the czar Peter I of Russia spent some time in Zaandam, studying shipbuilding. The house where he stayed is preserved as a museum, the Czar Peter House.
In 1871 the impressionist painter Claude Monet painted several pictures of the area, including Bateaux en Hollande pres de Zaandam and A windmill at Zaandam.
The first European McDonald’s restaurant opened in 1971 in Zaandam. The Albert Heijn supermarket chain is also headquartered in Zaandam, where it originated.
Also the Dutch soccer club AZ (Alkmaar Zaanstreek-combinatie) was founded in Zaandam. May the 10th, 1967.