Green Lizard's Blog

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

Milling with the wind!

I posted a while ago about a windmill near our house and another blogger asked for more info on it.

That lead to a second post and a video of the saw mill.

I guess post number three makes this a series.

In The Netherlands, famous for her mills, the wind has been harnessed over the centuries for many different purposes.

The wood mill was one example.

Today we visited another.

This one put me in mind of a UK children’s program. As a character on Camberwick green
He was always to be found dodging between the turning sails and adjusting to the wind.

His mill was a classic for producing flour.

Today’s mill sits in the university town of Leiden and by chance the sails were turning today.

We’d never even noticed it before but were at a market in a less familiar part of the town.

The mill is a post style mill.

The entire mill is on a post. This enables it to be rotated to catch or avoid the wind.

As we entered the mill, up a tremoring, steep wooden staircase it was very clear of the power of the wind.


At the top of the stairs, the lower room of the mill holds the sack-filling aspect of the process. A wooden chute brings the finely milled flour into the open paper sack. The sack stands on a scale so it can be accurately measured when it is full. We watched a volunteer block the chute and check the weight, topping up the sack till it accurately held the right amount.


We headed up a second stair into the main area of the mechanism. Here there was noise and activity. The horizontal drive shaft leading from the sails into the mill is linked by huge cogs to a vertical shaft which turns the two large milling stones on top of each other. The wheat is fed between them automatically too. The whole process is greased by lard.


Stacks of sacks lay ready to transfer to ground level using pulleys to avoid the stairs.


This mill was also restored in the 1980s and continues running with the help of donations and volunteers.
The shaking was a powerful sign of the power of the wind. And it stopped and started during the process.



11 comments on “Milling with the wind!

  1. lindaswildlifegarden
    June 19, 2014

    Reblogged this on Linda's wildlife garden and commented:
    Lovely post and thank you for sharing have a blessed day Liz


  2. silverbells2012
    June 19, 2014

    Greased by lard! Better than petroleum-based lubricant no doubt.


    • lizard100
      June 19, 2014

      Apparently it’s the only lubrication that works really well.


  3. litadoolan
    June 20, 2014

    I have never seen inside a windmill. Fascinating. It’s not how I would have imagined, but I see now how it all works!


    • lizard100
      June 21, 2014

      They are very clever mechanisms. And I’ve now got the incentive to find new ones and revisit old ones.


  4. Rambling Woods
    June 21, 2014



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This entry was posted on June 19, 2014 by in conservation 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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