Restoration of Nederwaard windmill number 4 kicks off
As preparations are nearing their final stages, the ‘real’ job of restoring Nederwaard windmill number 4 is about to commence. Its brick hull is up for some intense restoration efforts, chiefly aiming to address the serious moisture problems that affect the mill’s structure.
The past few years have not quite been the most comfortable period that Jan and Hennie Hoek and their two sons, the occupants of Nederwaard windmill number 4, can remember. Whenever serious rainfall is expected, the family scrambles to collect every last bucket they can get their hands on. “And if the weather gets really nasty, we need to get out of bed at night to empty those as well,” Hennie explains. Although she is glad to see the issue will finally be addressed, she admits it is a bit of a daunting prospect, too: “We’re not exactly looking forward to it, because we know it will take quite some time to fix her up.”
If everything goes as planned, the moisture issues caused by the poor quality of the brick base of the monument, dating from 1738, should be over by the end of the year. By now, preparations are almost complete, and the ‘real’ job is set to kick off a few weeks from now. Like its next-door neighbour Nederwaard number 3, the mill will be hidden from view by plastic sheeting for a while, to keep out the rain and wind while restorations are underway.
The root cause of all this moisture misery is poor quality masonry and jointing: a common problem among the mills of the Nederwaard area. Tackling these issues will make up the bulk of the overall restoration efforts. Spring and summer are the best seasons to get the job done. While the process is underway, a range of other minor repairs are scheduled as well. Activities panned include replacing the cogs of the lower wheel, restoring the base supporting the scoop wheel, and repairing the leaks in the wheel housing.
A quarter of a million
All in all, the restoration is expected to cost about 250,000 euros. Of this grand total, a maximum of 175,000 euros was allocated by the Mill Fund of the Dutch Windmill Foundation (Vereniging De Hollandsche Molen); the rest of the amount is paid by SWEK, the Kinderdijk World Heritage Foundation. By now, the effort to restore the adjacent Nederwaard windmill number 3 is in its final stages. This operation has already taken more than six months longer than expected, mainly because the masonry was in an even more appalling condition than we feared. The job of getting this monument back in shape has now cost about 140,000 euros, 100,000 of which is coughed up by SWEK.