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Schiedam the site of the tallest windmills in the world

Higher in town to catch the wind

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

SCHIEDAM Ė Windmill operators rely on an unobstructed flow of wind. The rights to operate windmills were governed by various regulations which depended on history and local circumstances. The privilege of operating a windmill usually included protection from interference with the flow of wind.

At its peak in the 19th century there were as many as twenty windmills located in Schiedam, the reason these buildings were much taller than the usual windmill structure on the edge of towns and villages.

Most of the Schiedam mills prepared grain for use by the distilleries. The rebuilt De Kameel joins five other ďgiantsĒ which are characteristic for the town.

Windmill De Walvisch (The Whale) (built in 1794) has been fully restored following a huge fire in 1996. The windmill grinds grain regularly. It has a shop with an assortment of flour and other bakery products.

Millerís house

The sails of windmill De Drie Koornbloemen (The Three Cornflowers) (dating from 1770) also turn regularly. This is the oldest of the existing windmills in the town. It is the only windmill with an attached millerís house, a fairly common feature elsewhere.

The third windmill is called De Vrijheid (The Freedom) (built in 1785) which usually turns its sails only during the weekend. The mill is fully equipped and has three pairs of millstones, one of which can be electrically driven if necessary.

Windmill De Noord (The North) (from 1803) now houses a quality restaurant. With its height of 33.3 metres, it is the highest windmill in the world. This millís grinding machinery is for the greater part intact.

Until recent years, the highlight of the Schiedamís windmill history was rebuilding Windmill De Palmboom (The Palm Tree) (originally erected in 1781), which was completed in 1993. The windmill is now known as the Museum Windmill De Nieuwe Palmboom (The New Palm Tree). The museum showcases Schiedamís windmill history and the purpose of and activities within a traditional flourmill, explained by a miller. Every year the museum organizes a new exhibition.