The National Windmill Day – the most majestic blades of Amsterdam in motion.

The National Windmill Day – the most majestic blades of Amsterdam in motion.

Don Quixote would be

on cloud nine if he could stay in Amsterdam during the National Windmill Day.

After all, this is the only period of the year when it is possible visit over

600 different windmills across the whole Netherlands free of charge! Moreover,

many of them are found directly in and around Amsterdam, so use this

opportunity to learn more about the bladed Dutch trademark.

A spinning symbol of Holland

What is the first

thing that comes to your mind when you think of the Netherlands? Clogs? Canals?

Cheese? Tulips? In fact, all of the above are correct, though when you arrive

to Holland in May, you’ll be able to take part in a two-day celebration of all

windmill-related – the National Windmill Day, which explores the theme of one

more Dutch icon – windmill. Indeed, in mid-May many windmills (or

molens in Dutch) are open for

sightseeing, and although you’d expect to see the majority of them in the

picturesque countryside, eight of them are located directly

in (or very close to) Amsterdam, which

makes it really easy to make the most of this amazing event.

Windmills constitute a

testimony to the glorious past of the Netherlands and despite the fact that

today there are around 1,000 of them scattered around the whole country, some

time ago their ‘population’ amounted to an impressive 10,000! While some of

them still operate to date, others have been transformed into private abodes,

and for that reason are not open to public, unfortunately – even on the

National Windmill Day. However, on that day you will be able to check a number

of different

molens in and around Amsterdam

and get to know the ropes behind the legendary Dutch windmill technology.

8 different wooden-bladed stories to be told

As said before, you

don’t even have to leave the city to experience a little bit of genuine Dutchness.

The best thing is that as many as 8 totally different windmills are to be found

really close to the very centre of Amsterdam, though only two of them can be

visited from the inside. Still, it is not about quantity, but quality, so

charge your batteries and begin your hunt for a collection of astonishing views

and sights awaiting you on your journey. To catch a glimpse of the 17th-century

windmill architecture, head for the Riekermolen situated right along the Amstel

River (featuring a mill and electric pumping-engine keeping the garden city of

Buitenveldert dry), De 1200 Roe on Haarlemmerweg 465 or De 1100 Roe on Herman

Bonpad 6. These are the examples of the earliest types of windmills used in the

Netherlands, but if you proceed to De Bloem on Haarlemmerweg 701 or D’Admiraal

on Noordhollandschkanaaldijk 21 you’ll be able to enjoy a view of some more modern

developments in that field. A couple of interesting side facts – the former of

these two has been relocated from its original site, but you’ll see that it

fits the environment perfectly, while the latter used to operate as a chalk and

ash mill before it was closed in 1954, now serving primarily as a remnant of

the past.

Now, moving on to

windmills which are more ‘interactive’ and offer a set of really unique

features to be gazed upon, first place you should go for is de Gooyer located

on Funenkade 7 (within walking distance from the Maritime Museum, actually); it

is the highest wooden windmill in the whole country and has been listed as a

national monument – and comes with a traditional Dutch brewery by the name of

Bierbrouwerij ‘t lj that will treat you with fine Y-lake (

ljmeer) beer. Nothing better than a refreshing drink and a

wonderful view from the local terrace! If you wish to take an actual trip

inside a windmill, then Molen van Sloten

(Akersluis 10) is the place to be. It has been reconstructed according to its

original shape from 1847, operates to date and is well-open to guests –

including those keen on guided tours.

For all windmill

enthusiasts there is an absolute must-see waiting a bit outside the city. Take

a train from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans (the trip should take about 15 minutes)

and enjoy a visit to a beautiful complex of eight neighboring windmills, each

of which was used to produce different types of products, ranging from paint or

oil to mustard. All of them are also available to visitors (free of charge on

the National Windmill Day, otherwise – for a small entry fee), but you can also

check out the Windmill Museum, located just a 15-minute walk from this

fantastic site.