Green Lizard's Blog

The planet is our home; we need to be more responsible. Here's what I do.

It’s an ill wind that blows no good.


Using natural energy is not a new thing. The Dutch in particular are well known for their ingenious use of wind energy.

Though the windmill was originally invented in Greece, It has been long associated with this flat land.

The Dutch have used wind power for all kinds of different things. The mill near our house is a sawmill.

Today it was hardly gardening weather and we had to go to the shops. On the way back we saw the sails turning so we took a soggy detour.

Lucky for us it was open day.

(Now the other day I posted about the mill and the way that they prepare trees for sawing as part of a post about trees. And fellow blogger solarbeez asked if I could share more about the mill. It made me think that the historically environmental could be interesting and that windmills are a great topic as there’s many here in The Netherlands.)

So the unsuitable-for-gardening weather was ideal for the task.

And Solarbeez asked for a video to see the workings of the mill. so here you go.

<a href="http://“>The Salamander Sawmill, Leidschendam

The mill location originally had a mill built in 1643 but after a huge fire in 1773 a significant part of the structure was destroyed.

The mill passed through the hands of a number of wood handlers and was modernised in the nineteenth century.

In recent times the mill eventually closed in 1953 and fell into a state of serious disrepair.

But in 1985 a society was formed to renovate and repair the mill. It took until 1995 to realise the plan for reconstruction.

It is now used to cut traditional timber for a range of uses and individuals can arrange to have tree trunks sawn too.

Now, though the mill is thatched, efforts are made to protect it at key times. The Dutch firework frenzy in New Year’s Eve being one. The fire brigade shower the thatch with water to protect it.

I hope this is useful.

Salamander mill website



18 comments on “It’s an ill wind that blows no good.

  1. Expat Eye
    May 12, 2014

    Interesting stuff! My dad could probably power a saw mill using wind energy…


  2. ilovemyplot
    May 12, 2014

    Interesting, I didn’t know the Greeks invented the windmill – do you know when?


    • lizard100
      May 12, 2014

      Apparently, the windwheel of the Greek engineer Heron of Alexandria in the first century AD is the earliest known instance of using a wind-driven wheel to power a machine. So there you go.


  3. silverbells2012
    May 12, 2014

    Great to see a mill being used 🙂


    • lizard100
      May 12, 2014

      Well thanks to solarbeez I’m going to try and write about a few others. The film was quite exciting too.


  4. tootlepedal
    May 12, 2014

    An excellent tour.


  5. truckerturningwrite
    May 13, 2014



    • lizard100
      May 15, 2014

      Thanks. It was incredible. Some of the noise was from a steam power display next door at the sane time.


  6. Thought you might like this song


  7. Rambling Woods
    May 16, 2014

    Really…the Greeks?…. Interesting post


  8. Pingback: Milling with the wind! | Green Lizard's Blog

  9. The Zero-Waste Chef
    June 30, 2014

    I would love to visit this old mill. I think there’s a market for historic mill tourism 🙂 I’m glad to hear this one has been repaired and is once again operational. It’s so low-tech and so smart.


    • lizard100
      July 1, 2014

      The mills here are amazing. When you see the sails turning it’s like an invitation to visit.


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This entry was posted on May 12, 2014 by in self sufficiency and tagged , , , .

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a blog by a multilingual expat-since-birth, linguist, researcher, mum of three, living in the Netherlands and writing about bilingualism, multiculturalism, parenting abroad, international life...

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