Once there were more as 900 windmills in the Zaanstreek. Only a few are left, but restored in an excellent condition. Windmill the Huisman is grinding fresh spices. You can smell the nutmegg. Windmill the Kat is grinding pigments for paint. Rembrandt used these pigments for his famous paintings like the Night Watch. Windmill het Schaap is a sawing mill. Did you know that the invention of the crankshaft in 1594 by Cornelis van Uitgeest was a breakthrough? Mills could now make vertical movements, for example, stamping, chalk peeling paint or rice.
Dutch clogs are world famous. For many centuries they were usefull for the Dutch, because they kept your feet dry and warm. And last but not least save. If something was fallen on your feet, you won’t be hurt.
The history of clogs you will see at the klompen museum. In France they are called sabots from saboteurs. During the industrial revolution workers throw their clogs in the machines to stop them.
Inside the windmills
The whole construction of a windmill is made out of wood. Even the gears in the mill are from wood. Inside the windmill you feel its heart. When the wind turns the blades, it makes the mill inside growl and groan. An extraordinary experience.
The Industrial Revolution began in Zaandam. In its heyday, it showed 900 mills which produced a multitude of products.
During the Golden Age, when Dutch ships sailed the world’s oceans, it also had to be supplied. Ship Rusk was the mainstay of the Zaanse Food industry. The sail making linoleum arise. Cocoa was introduced and finely rolled into cocoa butter. Rice, but also paper all came from windmills. On the ramp, we visit a cheese factory, a mustard mill, an old-fashioned shops in the last century. During the walk you can feel the energy that still surrounds the Schans.