Things to see & do
The Tsar Peter House is one of the oldest wooden houses in the Netherlands and the second-oldest museum, with the Teylers Museum in Haarlem being the oldest. This now world-famous house was where the Russian Tsar Peter the Great stayed in 1697.
Tsar Peter the Great stayed in the house of blacksmith Gerrit Kist in Zaandam for seven days. He came to Zaandam in order to learn the shipwright’s trade. The Tsar then departed for the Dutch East India Company (V.O.C.) shipyards in Amsterdam. With this short stay, the Tsar made this humble little wooden labourer’s cottage world-famous.
Russian tsars, presidents, Dutch monarchs, and even Napoleon and Empress Elisabeth of Austria have visited the Tsar Peter House in the past. The countless names that have been written on and scratched into the windows and wooden walls are reminders of these visitors.
The Tsar Peter House contains a treasure trove of memories including a death mask of Tsar Peter, a bust of Anna Pavlovna of Russia, and portraits of Tsar Peter and Catherine I.
The Russian tsars and Dutch monarchs realized that the Tsar Peter House was of inestimable value. In order to protect the little wooden house, in the nineteenth century they arranged for supports, foundations, and a roof to be added. Both the house and the covering structure have now been declared nationally listed monuments. Consequently, Zaandam now has two recognized monuments in one place, small but of great historic importance.