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22 June 2017

Unique insight into windmill maintenance

We use the revenues from tourisme for the upkeep of our World Heritage site. For instance on the maintenance of our windmills. This summer, you can come and experience it for yourself, because we are showing everyone how Nederwaard Museum Windmill gets some thorough servicing – come catch a unique glimpse of age-old technology!

Major maintenance at Nederwaard Museum Mill

This summer, we have some serious and special maintenance planned. A nuisance? Quite the contrary! Although one mill stops turning, there is even more to experience! We give you some unique insight in our ancient technology, with great activities to match this special summer maintenance!

Historical responsibility

Kinderdijk World Heritage is brimming with history. That makes perfect sense, as we try to keep a striking feature of our Dutch history alive, so we can show it to the rest of the world. Still, all this historical wealth comes with historical responsibilities, as anyone living in a listed building will agree. The unique constructions and materials making up our windmills call for special kinds of maintenance. Throughout the summer of 2017, we have a few hefty chores to finish. We explicitly choose to have these activities performed in plain sight, because this historical type of maintenance is an important part of our cherished World Heritage. We have a unique opportunity for anyone curious about technology from bygone ages: this summer, you can see for yourself what it takes to keep the Kinderdijk mills in top shape for centuries!

A unique feat of manual millwrighting

Maintenance of the Nederwaard Museum Windmill commenced on Monday June 19. Over the course of the week, the stock was removed, allowing a new stock to be inserted in its place. This quite a unique event, as the stocks used in these windmills usually last for about forty to fifty years! In the case of this museum windmill, replacing the stock is even more challenging than usual, because ideally, most of the hard work is done using a crane. Unfortunately, though, cranes can’t reach this particular mill, so we will have to use a winch instead. That’s an extra special way to complete a special job, then! Replacing the stock is just the beginning of the job, however, because our craftsmen will be working until July 7 to complete the lattice frame mounted to the new stock.

Windmill maintenance in a Dutch landscape

Windmill maintenance in a Dutch landscape

Definitely not run-of-the-mill

For obvious reasons, the sails of Nederwaard Museum Mill will not be turning during maintenance. Still, the mill will be open to the public, allowing anyone to enjoy its interior and catch a glimpse of the life lived by traditional miller families. We’ve used the opportunity to treat our guests to a few fitting activities. An original stock has been placed outside the museum mill, and we invite visitors to try and build their own lattice frame using the materials collected around the stock. A great opportunity for DIY enthusiasts to appreciate the sheer amount of work involved in building and maintaining these ancient windmills. Another impressive feat of technology is the capstan installed on the site. This ingenious device from ages past was used to hoist heavy loads, which is of course essential for building a colossal structure such as our mills. For all our digital visitors, or for after you return home, we have a special Facebook promo too. Anyone lucky enough to guess the number of wedges collected in the barrel wins a great Kinderdijk prize bundle!

Old-style millwrighting in plain sight, as this is part our our World Heritage too.

Special summer service

As you can see, there is plenty to enjoy at Kinderdijk World Heritage this summer – despite or thanks to our maintenance plans. In August, Nederwaard Museum Windmill gets a new look, as our painters start working on a brand new coat of paint. The crowning glory of our summer service will arrive in September, when the thatchers come by to add a fresh covering of thatch to the roof of the mill. We expect our old giant to be ready for a few decades of loyal service by then. As we have been doing for years, we allocate a considerable portion of our revenues to keeping our windmills in prime shape, so please remember that this summer’s maintenance is by no means an impediment to your Kinderdijk visit; in fact, things will only get more interesting around here!

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