5 Facts about the Traditional Windmills in the Netherlands

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Amsterdam Tourist Attractions

The Netherlands is famous for its classic landscapes dotted by numerous windmills of the previous century. These structures are a visual treat against the rural landscapes of the country that covers vast expanses of land. Below are some interesting features about the windmills of the Netherlands that you can visit in your tours in Amsterdam.

Windmills Once Dominated the Dutch Landscapes

Windmills used to dominate the landscape of the Netherlands about a century ago. They were mainly employed for industrial purposes. It was only after the invention of diesel engines and electric motors that these went out of common use. Around 1200 of these remain today in the Netherlands, and are known worldwide as the symbol of the Old Dutch culture. One of the places where you can spot plenty of these vintage structures is the Zaanse Schans.

Windmills Were Multi-Purposed Utilities Contrary to the Popular Belief

It is still widely believed that the Dutch windmills were utilized to grind grain from flour. However, there were several other purposes, which these giant structures served. For instance, they were used to drain water from the lowlands in order to restore the proper growth of polders. They were also used to extract oil from seeds and to saw wood. In De Kat, a windmill still functions as a paint mill, grounding dyes and chalks to give pigments for traditional paint.

Windmills Acted as a Catalyst to the Industrial Revolution

Since the Dutch windmills were extensively used to saw wood, it supplied the wood for the shipbuilding purposes. In fact, the world’s first industrial zone grew in the Zaanstreek locality in Old Holland, which was a center of windmills. About 75 ships were built here on an average during the period after 1650. Hence, the place is certainly not to be missed on your Amsterdam tours.

There is a National Day Dedicated to Windmills

The Dutch express their love for their windmills by celebrating a National Windmill Day annually. On this occasion, windmills across the nation are decorated using flowers, figures of angels, and so on. They are also adorned with Dutch flags and opened for public viewing.

You Can Get a Good Taste of These by Taking a Ride through the Nation’s Landscapes

Taking a tour to visit the picturesque landscapes dotted by these windmills is a must-do if you are going for private tours in Amsterdam. There are several options available including bus services through the countryside. However, the best way to witness these stunning places would be to hire a bike and pedal your way to these places. The famous cycling trail through Zanstreek region, also known as the Mecca of windmills, can be done in about 3 hours. It passes several scenic locations as well as a museum dedicated to windmills.