Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Netherlands - Zaanstreek

The traditional costume of women from Zaan in the Netherlands.

Sent by Marleen, a postcrosser from Amsterdam.

This is from Wikipedia : The name Zaan also refers to the district through which the river runs. The district (Dutch: Zaanstreek) is believed to be the world's first industrialized area.

During the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century, the Zaan district was dotted with windmills, which processed materials such as linseed, used in the paint industry, and agricultural products such as mustard seed and wood. By the mid-17th century, approximately 900 windmills could be found along the river, some of them still preserved in the Zaanse Schans.

The Zaan district continues to be a heavily industrialized area with many factories, particularly around the city of Zaandam. A number of major Dutch companies, like Ahold and Verkade, were founded in the Zaan district.

The dialect spoken in the Zaan area is known as Zaans. It has some similarities with the West Frisian dialect.

French impressionist painter Claude Monet stayed in Zaandam in the summer of 1871 and produced a series of 24 paintings of the Zaan district, writing to his friend Camille Pissarro that, "there is enough here to paint for an entire lifetime." Monet returned to the Zaan district to paint during visits to the Netherlands in following years.

The name of the Alkmaar-based soccer team AZ is short for Alkmaar Zaanstreek.

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