This trail is part of the European Industrial Heritage Route, a tourist information network for industrial heritage in Europe. In the Netherlands much of that heritage is found along the Zaan, where the oldest operational industrial area of Europe is situated. Due to the reclamation of various inland seas and lakes, the Zaan has been one of the main access routes to North Holland since the eighteenth century. As a result, many factories and warehouses were built for the processing, manufacture, storage of seed, soap, cheese, rice, oil, cocoa, paper and the like. These mastodons, usually built of red brick, are still standing. Some are old and dilapidated, but many have been newly refurbished and given a new lease of life. Like the old Verkade biscuit factory that was partly converted into a hospitality location. In the old Adelaar soap factory (with a gigantic concrete eagle on the roof) you will find the offices of a fashion brand. And people now live in the old Zwaardemaker grit mills. There are many more remarkable treasures to admire on this side of the trail.
The west side is another story altogether. Here you find straight paths running through endless empty lowlands with here and there the contours of a ribbon village and church steeples on the horizon. There you find the space to ponder all the beautifully preserved heritage you have seen.