National Windmill Days take place the second Saturday and Sunday in May, and is a chance to visit Holland’s working windmills for free. Not only is the windmill an iconic symbol of Holland, but it has played an important part in Dutch life for centuries.
In addition to draining the country, which lies below sea level, of excess water, wind energy was used for sawmills in making boats, milling corn and crushing hemp to use for making rope and sailcloth.
I’ve lived in Holland for nearly 20 years, and I still love the sight of a molen. Here is a look at some of my favorites.
Molen de Vlieger in Voorburg was built in 1621 and is a polder mill, once used to drain the Veen en Binckhorst Polder. Though the drainage is now done electrically, de Vlieger is still fully operational and runs regularly, and is museum that is open Wednesday and Saturday afternoons, April 1 to October 31.
Munnikkenmolen (1890), Zijllaanmolen (1850), Achthovensemolen (1893) are a cluster of polder windmills found in Leiderdorp, a town situated about half way between The Hague and Amsterdam. Like De Valk, all three mills were in use well into the 20th century – until 1958 for Munnikkenmolen and Zijllaanmolen, and Achthovensemolen until 1964 – and are still in working order, though Zijllaanmolen is not open to the public.
The windmill located in Keukenhof in Lisse is probably the seen by the most tourists. Built in 1892 as a polder mill in the Groningen in the north of The Netherlands, it was purchased as a gift by the Holland America Line, and moved to the Keukenhof in 1957. While the mill is functional, it mostly serves as a decorative object.
Seeing the Windlustmolen, which sits in the center of The Hague suburb Wassanaar, always makes me smile, because no matter how many times I’ve seen it, I think it is just so utterly adorable to have a windmill sitting in the center town.
De Vierwindenmolen in Monster was built in 1882 as a flour mill. Today, the mill is still occasionally used by volunteers to grind grain, and is open Saturday afternoons and by appointment.
These two mills, either alone or together, depending on the distance I’m running, serve as mile markers on my running route.
And since I can’t talk about the windmills of Holland without mentioning the famous Kinderdijk windmills, I’ve written a separate post on the scenic group of windmills.
These are just a few of the windmills located in South Holland. You can find a more comprehensive list of all of the windmills The Netherlands here.
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