Springtime in Holland

Day 2 - Zaanse Schans Windmills


This area was once an important industrial centre with hundreds of working windmills


Zaanse Schans has six working windmills rebuilt along the Zaan river, which was the main method  of transport.

Zaanse Schans

The one nearest the village is the De Huisman which has been used to grind snuff, mustard and other spices. The mill dates from around 1786 and is now used to grind spice. It is surrounded by the millerís domestic buildings including the privy which emptied direct into the river.

Zaanse Schans

Zaanse Schans

The next mill is De Kat which dates from 1664 and is the last remaining paint mill. 

Zaanse Schans

The windmill is a cap winder and the top is turned by a wheel into the wind.

Zaanse Schans

Tropical dyewoods were imported on a large scale for dying cloth fabric. These were chopped in a large tub before being crushed by the rollers. This pigment was then mixed with water to produce the paint. The different colours were stored in barrels to be sold.

Day 2 - Zaanse Schans Windmills   Day 2 - Zaanse Schans Windmills

Day 2 - Zaanse Schans Windmills

The mill also grinds chalk to make a white pigment for white lines on roads.

Day 2 - Zaanse Schans Windmills

A steep flight of stairs leads to a viewing area of the shaft and cog wheels and leads out onto the viewing platform across the drained polder. 

Day 2 - Zaanse Schans Windmills

Beyond De Kat is De Zoeker which was built in 1672 to help drain and reclaim the polders. In 1891 it was converted into a paint mill and then an oil mill. Eventually the mill was used for processed cocoa waste until it closed in 1950. It has now been restored as an oil mill.

Zaanse Schans

The next mill is Het Jonge Schaap which is a working saw mill, dating from 1680 and was used until 1942.

Zaanse Schans

Day 2 - Zaanse Schans Windmills

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