Thursday, October 14, 2010

Amsterdam: Windmills are on my mind . . .

"Holland is a place where the broad ocean leans against the land." ~ Oliver Goldsmith

There are 1,000 windmills located across the Dutch country side.  Beginning in the 12th century Windmills became the chief source of power. With windmills farmers could harness wind power to crush seeds and grind grain, but their main purpose was to drain the land of water (half of Holland is below sea level). By draining the water farmers created fertile farmland and helped in Holland's long battle against flooding. 

While in Amsterdam I want to be able to visit a few windmills. I was surprised to learn that there are 8 working windmills located just in the outskirts of the city (Google Maps of all 8 Windmills).   The De Gooyer and Riekermolen windmills are at the top of my list.  At the De Gooyer Windmill there's a cool Brewery.  I wonder if they serve root beer?  And did you know that Rembrandt himself was said to have sat and sketched at the Rikermolen windmill.  Cool!

Further afield there is a delightful dutch village called The Zaanse Schans. This village is located on the banks of the river Zaan and is a replica of a typical Zaanse village of the seventeenth and eighteenth century. Here I will find these charming green wooden houses, with gardens, small bridges, cute little shops and historic windmills. It is only a 20 minute (4 stop) train ride from Centraal Station in Amsterdam.  Very cool!

A circle in a spiral
A wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning
On an ever spinning wheel
As the images unwind
Like the circle that you find
In the windmills of your mind

~ from "Windmills in your Mind"
Alan and Marilyn Bergman (lyrics)
Michael Lengrand (music)


  1. I didn't get to visit a windmill when I was there; I wish I had. It'll be fun to take pictures of them, I bet.

  2. Love reading about all your explorations and adventures. It sounds so lovely.

  3. There is also a very easy to visit windmill in Leiden - De Volk and an older one along the canal. We got adventurous and went to Kinderdyke which is the absolute best place for windmills but it is not easy to get to by public transportation. And they are not open past November. I have been meaning to get to De Gooyer Windmill because I really like 'ij Brewery. Very strong beer. It looked like it was easy to get to by bus.

  4. Oh I love windmills! We visited a small one near my dad's house in England, and it was very cool! The Zaanse Schans does sound utterly delightful, can't wait to visit it vicariously through you.

    Like the song lyrics. It's neat how music speaks so strongly to both of us - I think we are song-sisters! :)

  5. Hi Annie, I think it'll be fun to take photos of them too. On my first visit to Amsterdam which I hardly remember, I don't remember seeing them either. As part of our group tour we stopped in Amsterdam for our farewell dinner and never toured the city. I'm hoping to see what I missed on this trip. :)

    Hi Barb, I'm glad that your enjoy reading about my plans. Writing them down is keeping me in focus and with 27 days (eek, just saw my countdown clock) it is a great help. Hopefully, I'll get to see what I have on my must see lists. :)

    Hi Marta, thanks so much for your tips. I'll have to check out Leidens' windmill. You're so lucky to have seen Kinderdyke. That was on my original must see list too, but I read that it is closed in November and it is a little further out. I think visting De Gooyer will be cool especially with the Brewery there.

    Hi Anne (aka Song sister), :) I love that term. We do seem to like the same songs. That's so cool that you've seen a windmills up close. I think I will enjoy my visit to Zaanse Schans too. I'm really looking forward to my windmill adventures and will gladly share...

    Thanks so much everyone. I appreciate your comments, helpful tips and support. Only 27 more days . . . . You all have a wonderful weekend.

  6. Certainly seems whimsical. Love reading about your intended itineraries. Looking forward to your blogs and photos.

  7. Hi M, it certainly does . . . I will try my best to hopefully post some fun and whimsical photos for you.:) Thanks so much for your comments and your support. Have a great weekend.


It's me Trekcapri (aka Kathy). Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.