Types of windmills in Holland


Once a country of 10,000 windmills, Holland now has over 1,000 historic vertical mills, more than any other country in the world. Vertical mills come in a variety of shapes, from the post mill, hollow post mill, tower mill, and the smock mill. All of these are really a variation on the post mill, where a post stands vertically and its attached sails can be turned to face the direction of the wind. The other types of vertical windmills expand the center from a simple post to large interior spaces where the miller can live.

Where windmills are found

Of the many windmills in Holland, each type has a specific purpose: pumping water, keeping the polders (lowlands) dry, sawing wood, grinding grain, and many others. Several areas are known for their windmills, and should definitely be a part of any tour of Holland.

  • Kinderdijk—This area's windmills were built to pump water between the river and the polders.
  • Mills of Schiedam—These windmills are the tallest in the world. From the original twenty mills, only five have survived. In 2006, a wind turbine was built in the area and made to look like an original windmill.
  • Zaanse Schans—One of the most popular tourist attractions in North Holland, Zaanse Schanse has a collection of historic houses and windmills to give people an idea of what Holland was like in earlier centuries.
  • Amsterdam—the city has 8 windmills. Of these, the Molen van Sloten is a polder-draining mill, the De Otter mill is the only operating wood-sawing mill, and the De Gooyer towers over the Brouwerij ’t IJ, a popular brewhouse.


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