How many windmills are there in Holland???
Well to be precise 1035 windmills and 106 watermills. The south of Holland is the biggest mill province, with 220 windmills. Utrecht has the least only 32 of them. Most of the water mills are in Limburg.
If we go back in time a bit, let's say about 95 years b.b. (before barchetta) there were approximately 10.000 windmills operational. They were milling all kinds of things like corn, they sawed wood, beat oil out of seeds and made paper. The so called polder mills kept the water level in the lowlands acceptable. Many 1000's of mills did not survive the modern times. The now for Dutch standard very low number of mills is only just about enough to still call Holland windmill country. In the first place there are windmills, simply driven by the wind and then we have water mills powered by streams and rivers. There are 2 categories: the mills that basically mill corn in to flour and another group the polder mills. Well we have seen a few polder mills yesterday, today we'll see an original corn mill.
Not to get too serious but even the book of St. John(3 : 8) makes mentioning of windmills…
'The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and wither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.'
In the Dutch landscape the windmill is symbolic of the gravity of the Dutch character. Planted solidly on the earth in an incarnation of force, it seems as if it had grown up quite naturally from the soil, forming an integral part of the surroundings. It is in perfect harmony with the natural scenery around, built of native brick or thatched with reed as it is. Reed was ready to hand all around in this country intersected by waterways and it was used as a natural roof-covering by seventeenth-century Dutch architects just as it is today by architects of country houses. All the primitive structural parts of the windmill reveal simplicity, realism, and practical usefulness; its appearance testifies to its association with the primeval forces of nature: wind and water.
These two words, wind and water, have a very special fascination for the true-born Dutchman.
We realize how - many centuries ago - the inhabitants of these low-lying parts had to give all their attention to wind and water every hour of the day; how farmers and fisherman naturally chatted about the weather whenever they met, because their everyday existence was bound up with it and dependent upon it. We can understand that a man living near the dykes would be bent down in old age through years of steady tramping, working, and toiling against the wind; that the Dutch from remote times were bound to become sober and stubborn men: sober because they always had to reckon with the treacherous elements, and stubborn because persistence alone could make them win. And any sailing-man who is alive to the grandeur of nature will be thrilled when - alone or with a few comrades - he feels at one with and a part of nature: wind and water and floating clouds; he takes a particular delight in the effort to keep his head above water in the most literal sense and make headway with primitive natural aids (for a sailing vessel after all is essentially a primitive means of transport).
Well once again I must have bored you long enough. I could go on for ages about mills … but luckily for you I won't. It is very simple words can't express the sight of a windmill nor the feeling I get being around them. Just experience it for yourself and see if they grab you aswell.
The mill we'll see today is called the Korenmolen, the Cornmill.
The Korenmolen is owned by the Van Riel family which has been a millers family for century's. Around the Korenmolen they have set up different rooms to organize typical Dutch parties.
It is very nice to spend some time in a space that has been built in 1865. The mill is very nicely restored into it's old splendor. If we are lucky and there is some wind, well there always seems to be wind in Holland, the mill will be operating while we have lunch there. The mill is still fully operational and even mills the ingredients for the bread we will be eating today. It's a very impressive sight to be sitting on the terrace while the mill is operating.