Oh Molens..and the Dutch National Windmill Day

I know there is indeed a National Tulips Day but a National Windmills Day ?

This one is very, very old.

When I married a Dutchman, of course I got curious about Dutch culture and life in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, we don´t live there but somehow to it´s neighbour ,Germany.Although through the journey up until now, I find so many quirky things about “How-Dutch-people-do their-things” compared to the German culture that we´re living right now.Still, I have found great fascination with many typically acclaimed “Dutch” things.Let´s take for example their beloved “Molens” or windmills.

The Dutch love their windmills so much that they have even dedicated a special day to them. Apparently, every year in mid-May, the country celebrates National Windmill Day, for which windmills throughout the Netherlands are decorated with flowers, figures of angels or Dutch flags, and doors are thrown open to visitors. Hmmm, probably they will serve some freshly baked Dutch apple pies then.

The National Mill and Milling Day is an annual event on which more than 600 wind and water mills and pumping stations are open.

A fine one standing in Kinderdijk in the Netherlands

I got properly introduced to Molens in my first visit to this country. Arriving in Schiphol, I was greeted with Dutch icons–tulips, clogs, windmills and cheese! While exploring the local neighbourhood, and looking for a playground, I saw that many gardens with miniature windmills in their garden. I find it really nice.With a toddler in my hand, we had a quick hike, climbing up to the oldest Windmill in the area nearby.I have seen one fine old Windmill, there´s no doubt! It´s not operating on the time of our visit but was good enough to explore.In Holland, the sight of traditional windmill is just as normal as seeing cows, sheep and goat pasturing freely in the countryside.I find it idyllic though.

Up close and personal with one of the molens in Kinderdijk

Seeing rows of Windmills in the Unesco World Heritage siteKinderdijk“, translated as Children Dyke a few years back brings me back good memories.One thing, it is very windy, very very windy. Of course, there are approximately 19 huge windmills in this area.But then, these windmills produces very little turbulence. I thought for a second that they generate a sort of wind power, but then I was mistaken.

Kinderdijk is also the site of the old St Elizabeth’s flood, where Kinderdijk actually means ‘Children’s Dyke’ after a cradle had been found bobbing up and down in the water after the flood with, what is assumed, the house cat keeping the cradle steady.That´s how the history started.

I guess these polder makes this country so unique. Even without the UNESCO enlisting, these Windmills serves a common purpose.I find it quite interesting how the Dutch approach to prevent and control floods.This was necessary because the Netherlands is 26% below sea level. Windmills were also used for sawing wood, grinding grain and spices, making paper, and pressing seeds for oil.

I was reading the book that my husband gave me and was surprised to know that there are more than thousands of these windmills are still intact today.Now that´s another reason to explore the others.

I had the chance to see what´s in side of the windmill. There is also a tour for visitors to take and learn more about the mechanism and the art of operating it. Pre-Corona times, it comes easy and no hassle.Visitors can actually climb up, see the pumps and see what´s going on in there and I found it all super interesting. My daughter would probably never remember that visit but she had fun there. There was an interactive museum, a place with some farm animals or we called it little zoo , and a local neighbourhood where you can have a glimpse of the old days.

The place is very picturesque, even better in a fine clear weather. Unfortunately during our time of visit, it was summer time but the weather was like in Autumn, with lots of wind and grey.

A very windy and grey weather

The oldest from the windmills here is the “Blokker” which is actually dated from 16th century. Up until now, it´s standing there. One thing I noticed were its unique sails, they are mosty open and wide.They said that the sails were used before as a means of communication between the millers.On festive occasions,such as Dutch´s King´s Day, locals would decorate their windmills with flowers and colorful flags.

My parents in law were locals but it´s actually their first time to visit this place with us. They even thanked me that I have found this place online and urged them to visit this place together as a family. I guess seeing tulips and windmills were their everyday cup of tea but a little trip won´t hurt.But no, they were never able to wear a real wooden Clogs in their lives.

For them, windmills are part of their lives and will always be…

Glad I found another interesting thing about this country which is flat as a pancake! But yes, they have one of the best gardens in the world I must say and Amsterdam´s canals are not that bad compared to the Venetian lagoons.

Until then, stay safe everyone, Tschüss!

4 thoughts on “Oh Molens..and the Dutch National Windmill Day

  1. Great piece. Kinderdijk is cool, indeed. It’s technologically interesting that this string of windmills kept the very low lying polder dry. Maybe a next time you will have the opportunity to visit the Zaanse schans, near Zaandam. Along the river Zaan one can find several industrial windmills, for, among other puposes, sawing wood (ship building!) When I was a child I wore wooden shoes, cheap, strong and in winter surprisingly warm! (The only problem was that snow used to clutter underneath, so one had to scrape that off quite regularly. 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dank je wel Peter. Of course it´s on my list already as well as a visit to your lovely town of Groningen.
    I visited one traditional Clogs maker, in the suburbs of Ente and that was really fun. I got myself and for my daughter and we keep it until now. My daughter definitely outgrown her size but its a memento that ww´ll forever keep.
    Does the wooden clogs worn in winter have some warm soles inside ?..then I should probably tried that this winter.
    That would be the inspiration for the winter clogs! :-))

    Liked by 1 person

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