Saturday, 26 October 2013

A Windmill in Leiden


Visiting a Dutch Windmill

When you think of Holland you think of windmills. Growing up in the Netherlands you kind of take them for granted like cows in a field or clouds in the sky. They're just there and you don't take notice of them. But yesterday when I happened to pass one, I did notice it and decided to take a look inside.

Visiting a Dutch Windmill


Visiting a Dutch Windmill


This particular windmill called De Valk, or the Falcon, is situated in the city of Leiden, right in the city centre. It's a mill that was built in 1743 and was used to grind grain to produce flour. It's a tower mill which measures no less than 29 metres tall, high enough to catch the wind blowing over the roofs of Leiden. The Falcon was in use till well into the last century, but was turned into a museum towards the end of it.

Visiting a Dutch Windmill


Visiting a Dutch Windmill


The tour takes you through a living room, a drawing room and a kitchen, all kitted out with orignal period furniture. On the next six floors up there are a multitude of displays, depictions and artefacts that explain the history of milling, the different types of mills and the workings of the mills. Who knew that we Dutch didn't come up with the concept of windmills at all; the Romans apparently did.  Another thing I didn't know was that a miller didn't get paid in money for his hard labour of grinding wheat. He got paid in flour which he then sold on to local bakers for cash.

Visiting a Dutch Windmill


This museum is not one to go to if you suffer from vertigo. The different floors or lofts are all connected by stairs that seem to get steeper and steeper the higher you get. There are even signs telling you to descend backwards to avoid breaking body parts. The grinding loft was the main floor of the mill. This is where the miller spent most of his time, overseeing the quality of the flour seeping through the chutes above, and checking the weather on the gallery outside making sure the sails were catching enough wind. You can walk out onto the gallery where you can enjoy 360 views stretching across the city of Leiden.

Visiting a Dutch Windmill

Brimming with windmill knowledge I continued my visit of Leiden, knowing that I would never take my national icons for granted again.

10 comments:

  1. It looks very homely inside, what a beautiful place. I have never been inside a windmill, I definitely should do that next time.

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    1. You should! And there are still plenty you can visit in Holland!

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  2. I love the details like the tiled back splash and knowing more about the history of windmills. x

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  3. What a beautiful country we live in indeed, never the less, I call Gouda (the city we will leave in 3 months) cheesy. Although it is beautiful.

    My point being, it's hard to describe or even see the beauty of your home. And I guess that's only really possible after a good while traveling.

    Chee(r)s :)

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    1. Lol. Nothing cheesy about that! Shame you're leaving...

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  4. Even though I grew up in Germany, I have never visited the Netherlands before - and I really don't understand why! I love the looks of windmills, but I don't think I've ever seen one before. They really must be exclusive to Holland! :) I found your blog through the attendee list of Selena's Afternoon Tea next week - I'm looking forward to meeting you there!

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  5. Oh wow, I did not expect the inside of windmills to be furnished or look anything like that! I thought it would be hollow! Thank you for the tour.

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    1. LOL, I think some might have been, but my mom says that she used to stay at her friend's who lived in a windmill and it looked similar.

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