A trip to The Netherlands would surely be incomplete if you do not visit a windmill. Windmills have become such an integral part of Dutch culture and history that the county celebrates National Windmill Day every year. On this day windmills throughout the country are open to visitors who want to see the beautiful structures of these windmills from the inside. National Windmill Day is usually celebrated during the month of May.
Windmills have been a part of the Dutch culture for centuries, as they were used for milling corn or for draining the lowlands of excess water. Hundreds of years later these windmills are still cherished and decorated with flowers, lights and figures of angels or Dutch flags that mark a joyous occasion.
17th and 18th century windmills
Although most of the 17th century windmills are not open to the public, seeing these magnificent architectural monuments from the outside is still a treat. De Otter on the Kostverlorenvaart is one of the oldest sawmills of its kind. Other windmills include de 1200 Roe or the Riekermolen located on the banks of the Amstel River, d’Admiraal windmill in Amsterdam Noord and De Bloem on the Haarlemmerweg. These famous windmills in Amsterdam are well worth a visit.
Open to the public
The only windmill out of the eight remaining ones that is open to the public all year round is the Molen van Sloten. This windmill was initially built in 1847, but recenly renovated it is now used as a popular venue for weddings and other functions. Another great attraction at this windmill is an audio-visual presentation about the life of Rembrandt, called “Rembrandt in the Attic”.
If you wish to explore areas surrounding Amsterdam in order to look for some windmills, you are also spoilt for choice. Massive tourist attraction The Zaanse Schans is just a 15 minute train journey away. This amazing museum that also features the first Albert Heijn store is free of charge and displays eight working windmills.
Visit the famous cheese market in Alkmaar. Book your tickets here.