Amongst the Netherlands’ famous icons stands the thousand of windmills. For centuries, windmills have been used to drain water and keep land dry. As about 20% of Dutch land locates below sea level, and another 50% lies less than one metre above the line, those windmills – known as polder mills – had once made it possible for the Dutch to conquer their land and even reclaim from the sea. Until now, the most famous Dutch mills are nineteen polder mills in Kinderdijk. This UNESCO site is impressive by its creative form of water management, and picturesque by sight.
Windmills convert the energy of wind into rotational energy by using sails or blades. Originally, generated energy was used for grinding grain in food production. Over the course of time, windmills’ structure and mechanism have become more and more sophisticated and their usages varies from generating electricity to pumping water and many more.
Industrial windmills cluster in farm, grow higher and larger. Schiedam of South West Netherlands is home to five largest windmills in the world. They are up to 40 metres high and used to make jenever (Dutch gin). In Zaanse Schans (just north of Amsterdam), some hundreds of mills formed the first industrial site in the world, making a variety of products from paints, mustard, oil to paper. Today, they remain as a part of history telling stories of blowing wind.