What is a classic Dutch landscape without a windmill or two? The so-called “molen” are one of the most recognizable symbols of The Netherlands. A curious fact is that the windmills actually were not invented here. It’s believed that their origin is from the Middle East.
In the beginning, the mills were actually watermills. People used them to grind grain like corn. Later, the mills were used for far more things – from sawing wood to grinding tobacco. Because of that, the mills took a huge part of the industrial process in The Netherlands. Somewhere in the 14th century, the idea that the mills could be improved and used to drain water from the polders was born. And so, the battle for the land began.
Because of their key role in the history, they are honored with their own day – the Windmill day in May.
There were approximately 10.000 windmills in the past but today their number is decreased to around 1.000. Actually, you don’t have to go outside Amsterdam to see some windmills. Here are the top 3 windmills in Amsterdam.
The first one is called De Gooyer (also known as The Funenmolen) and is located in Amsterdam Oost (Fuenenkade 7) really close to the Artis zoo. It’s the tallest wooden mill in The Netherlands. It was used for grinding grain in the past. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to go inside. However, there is a small brewery called Brouwerij ‘t IJ with a bar next to it. Do not hesitate to enter. It’s a unique chance to try a typical Dutch beer.
The second windmill is called De Otter and it’s located in Amsterdam West. It’s approximately 20 min walking from Dam Square. De Otter is the last wood sawing mill in Amsterdam and the oldest one. From quite a long time the mill struggles of wind lack because of the tall buildings around it. Therefore, the mill doesn’t function anymore and it’s not open to visitors.
The third one is called Molen van Sloten and it’s the only mill in Amsterdam open to visitors. The mill is located in the south-west part of Amsterdam and is fully functioning. Its main task is to regulate the water level in the surrounding area. It’s really cool to see how the mill actually works. Also, in a small room inside you will learn more about the Rembrandt’s life. There is also a small museum – Kuiperijmuseum, which is all about how the wooden barrels are being made and what are being used for.
Adress: Akersluis 10, 1066 EZ Amsterdam
Entrance fee: € 8,00
Off the beaten path, there are several other windmills in Amsterdam. De 1100 Roe and De 1200 Roe are both polder mills and both are located in Amsterdam Nieuw-West. De Riekermolen is situated just outside of the Amstelpark in Amsterdam Zuid and there is a statue of Rembrandt in front of it. De Bloem is a flour mill located just opposite of the Westerpark. Last but not least, d’Admiraal is located in Amsterdam Noord. It’s a chalk mill which occasionally is open to visitors.
Outside Amsterdam, the most popular windmills to visit are in Zaanse Schans. The Mills of Kinderdijk, though, are the most photographed mills in The Netherlands. Although, if you happen to visit Weesp, don’t miss to see the three beautiful mills there.