Most of the Kinderdijk windmills are grondzeilers or ‘ground sail windmills’, but there is a difference between the windmills in the Nederwaard water management district (such as the Museum Windmill) and the Overwaard water management district.
The eight round stone grondzeilers in the Nederwaard are upper winders, some of which have the winch on the end of a tail pole. They have thatched bodies and an internal water wheel.

The sails of a grondzeiler almost touch the ground when it turns, which is where it gets its name. The wind shaft can be turned into the wind by turning the whole upper section, which is known as ‘winding’, which is why these windmills are known as upper winders. Convenient when the wind suddenly changes direction!

So what are the differences between the Nederwaard and Overwaard windmills?

The Nederwaard commissioned the construction of eight round stone grondzeiler windmills, which were completed in 1738. In that time, as we can see from old paintings depicting the windmills, the Nederwaard windmills were covered in slate shingles rather than a thatched body. The fifth windmill was known as the ‘crooked mill’. It was 65 centimeters out of alignment. It was straightened in 2011 and then restored to working order. The restoration cost over 1 million euros. The bakehouse that belonged to the fifth windmill was torn down and reconstructed by the Museum Windmill, the second Nederwaard windmill.

The Nederwaard windmills are not lined up neatly; instead, they are staggered to ensure that they would not block each other’s wind, especially in the event of a prevailing west wind.
This was less of a consideration for the Overwaard windmills, since they are spaced farther apart. It would also have been much more difficult to stagger the windmills in the Overwaard polder, since the edges of the Overwaard do not have broad strips of land along the dikes to prevent dike subsidence.

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