Monet visited Holland on his way back from England at the end of the Franco-Prussian War. Over there he painted 24 canvases in just three months. The combination of
architecture and water in a flat landscape was what attracted him most. This combination appears again and again in his works.
Zaandam was painted in the year of 1871 and was the reminiscent of some of the marine pictures from Argenteuil, particularly in the technique used on water. The reflections of the buildings are sharp and the colors clear. It is not the mirror that the canal is in the main picture.
The stroke used on the water are short flecks of varying colors. In Zaandam the water is painted with smooth brushwork. Long lines of white color are used to indicate where the water reflects light alone. The ripples of the water are also depicted by the wobbly reflection, particularly evident when looking at the reflected masts of the boat.