We took a quick trip out into the countryside to see some the beautiful windmills still operating in Holland.
We visited Schermer Molens Stichting. Schermer Mills Foundation own and operate the windmills. The foundation has worked to restore the windmills and now operates the facility as a museum. As a result of the restoration work, you can see a windmill working both outside as well as inside.
It is about 45 minutes outside of Amsterdam and is easily accessible by car, public transport or on a day tour from the capital.
Where is Schermer Molens Stichting
History of Windmills in Holland
There are over 1,000 windmills remaining in Holland. Many no longer work, but some are still used as they traditionally were, for drainage or for grinding grain.
The history of the windmill dates back to the 1400’s. The country was made up of wetlands and swamps, many of which were below sea level. Only dunes kept the sea at bay. As a result, the people of Holland suffered poor living conditions and villages would often be destroyed by floods prior to the 1400’s.
Windmills were introduced to Holland in the early 1400’s. The sea was kept at bay from the land by building dams and levies. Windmills were used to create farming land by draining the swamps and wetland areas.
As time went on, other uses for the windmill were discovered and my the 1500’s, windmills were also being used to do things like saw timber.
It is estimated that there were around 9,000 working mills by the 1900’s, but as more modern technology was developed, their use decreased and many were destroyed. However, you will still find some working windmills around the country. There have been efforts to restore some to keep the history alive.