Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Kinderdijk Windmills

Before we got to Amsterdam we stopped at the Kinderdijk Windmills, a historic cluster of windmills with a small museum right along the canal we were travelling.  This is one of the best places to see how the older style windmills worked in Holland.

Windmills were used for a number of purposes in Holland.  Some were gristmills, just as pioneers had here in Ontario, but most were to pump water out of the polders into the rivers to enable agriculture across the low-lying land.

There was a small museum that helped explain what we were going to see.  And it had one of those outdoor 'picture frames' that you could get a picture through, lined up with the closest windmills.

In the museum there were diagrams that explained the operation of a windmill.  The wind turns the upper gear, and inter-locking wooden teeth turn the vertical column.  At the bottom another set of inter-locking wooden teeth turn the actual wheel that moves the water.  In the lower picture is the actual pair of huge gear-wheels we saw in the windmill we toured, a little blurred because it was so dark.

Individual windmills here all look similar, and they can all be turned to face the wind.  There are also 'sails' that extend out over the thin wooden frames of the four windmill blades.  The 2nd windmill on the right has the 'sails' out, and that's the one we toured.  To the left of centre you can see a faint cluster of red umbrellas moving along the walk.  It was pouring rain most of the time we were there.

This is the windmill that is kept open for us tourists.  It reminded me of several Great Lakes lighthouse museums around here, the living quarters inside quite similar.  You can see the black sails out to catch the breeze.

This huge mechanism is used to turn the windmill blades to face into the wind.  Each windmill had a keeper who typically lived inside, and kept the windmill properly adjusted.

Back at the road, this is the huge modern screw pump that has replaced the work of all these historic windmills.

It was certainly a rainy grey day, but it was a very interesting stop to see these windmills and learn how the kept the polders dry enough for agriculture.


Back here at home it's still very much winter.  One to two feet of snow on the ground, and the world still looks white, usually with grey skies overhead.  But Sunday night we had six hours of fierce winds suddenly, and they blew snow into enormous drifts in very specific locations.  At a Monday morning meeting I heard of friends who had to wait for snowplows to cut through 4, 5 and 6 foot drifts before they could get out to the main road!  The worst drifting many people have seen in many year.  In some of those places the snowbanks are approaching 10 feet high.  I snapped this out the front window while I was being chauffered by Mrs. F.G. (who is getting tired of her new role!)


  1. Your trip sounds SO marvelous.. I have enjoyed all of your posts. Interesting post about the windmills.... I had no idea!!!!

    Bet you wish you were still on that trip ---until all of the snow disappears.... ha


  2. I've got some major catching up to do. I have been so sick that I've been away from life itself it seems. I love that you went on some grand adventure. The windmills are wonderful. I was so thrilled when we were there seven years ago and saw them. I wish we had gone to the museum. Thanks for sharing.

  3. It was raining the day we visited the windmills, too! You have some great photos!

  4. Love the windmills. Holland is one place I'd love to visit. Grandparents on my moms side came from there.

  5. very interesting - i thought they were just pretty ;)

    wow, that's a lot of snow, ours is gone but it has been very windy here too!!!

  6. I love to see the old things. They look beautiful :)

  7. The windmills would be fascinating. the technology worked for them.

  8. Love the windmills! I hear that we do not have enough wind here in Shenandoah Valley to make wind a reliable tool,but an hour away in West Virginia the ridges are lined with wind turbines.

  9. I have seen windmills my entire life but never knew how they worked before. Thanks for educating me, and the picture of that road makes me realize how windy it must have been! :-)

  10. Love those windmills. Beautiful and environmentally friendly. Great combination.

    We are having our third storm in a week tonight. This is February in Canada after all.

  11. Those windmills are cool! Nice photos and thanks for the information about them too.

  12. My parents have visited that place. It is marvelous to see!

  13. Such classics. The tour must have been very informative. I'm amazed at how long our snow has stuck around even though the temperatures have warmed, there was one day with sunshine and it rained hard last night. - Margy

  14. Their windmills have always interested me...I would love to have a tour of one.