Woosh woosh woosh. The typical Dutch flat land is great for cycling except for when there’s wind. And there always is wind. Always. So, it took me some time to get here, but here I am. On the dike, next to the best windmill in The Hague – Delft. And I have to say: this giant typical Dutch icon is making a terrible noise.
Peek inside a Dutch windmill
There are several opportunities per year to visit a Dutch windmill and have a look inside. Most popular are the industrial windmills in Zaanse Schans, near Amsterdam and the polder windmills in Unesco heritage site Kinderdijk, near Rotterdam. If you want to meet more locals and get a more authentic experience keep your eyes open for a National Heritage Day or a National Windmill Day. In my humble opinion the regional windmill days are even better. Take the Westland windmill day 2019 for instance. It is your chance to live the life of a miller in the best windmill in The Hague – Delft.
Smell Dutch delicacies at Delft windmill
She’s a tough lady. No matter how the landscape around her changes, Windmill de Roos in Delft stands tall. She’s been here for ages. Not at exactly the same spot, she has been moved a few metres to the left, a few metres to the right when new roads or new railway tracks were created. And now, after the construction of the underground railway, she’s earned her spot along a wide cycling path. For your great view on the city, go here. At least, that’s what they say. I am afraid of heights and the steep stairs will garantee I stay with both feet on the ground. When my participants climb up to the windmill’s deck I follow the flour dust to the small shop. As I wander past the rye flour, the mixes for cakes and crumbles I can almost smell the delicious fragrances of fresh made bread and pastries. The mix for the Dutch gingerbread cookies, which they sell in winter really makes my mouth water.
Holland’s best kept secrets
The best kept secrets from Holland are best kept secrets because they are either hidden from view or not that easy to reach. For the next best windmill The Hague – Delft area, leave the car at the parking and hop on a bike. One of the reasons why we cycle so much in the Netherlands is that we get everywhere. Even to the places that are not on Google Maps.
Cycle below the water
From the one and only flour windmill in Delft it is a 15 minutes bike ride to the Schaapweimolen. You could follow the route of the Westland floating flower parade. Essentialy that means you follow the water. Best part is where you go through a small cycling tunnel. The experience is over in the blink of an eye, so make sure you blink slowly. While you cycle in the deep dark tunnel, take a look at your right. At the deepest point you cycle below the water!
Best windmill The Hague -Delft for water management
The water level in this area is all managed by the electric pumping station you see when your eyes get used to the light again. Up you go, swirling on the bridge to cross the canal. Don’t swirl to fast now. Take a moment to look out on the canal. You’ll immediately see the Schaapweimolen. A few metres before are the remains of another windmill. Can you picture a row of windmills here, pumping the water from the polder land into the canal?
Meet the miller
When you visit the Schaapweimolen take your time. Many visitors take a few pictures from the outside and have a quick look inside during one of the open windmill days. If you take your time, you’ll meet the miller. From the tiny window of the miller’s house Wim has a good view on everyone passing by. Wim is 80 years old and quite a character. When I ask him if he still puts the sails on the blades himself, I know I’ve made a mistake. He looks at me as if I just asked him if windmills can walk. Having worked at windmills for most of his life, putting the sails is like eating a sandwich with cheese. Wim is a man of little words. He’ll take you inside the miller’s house, where grandgrandparents would just feel at home. There are images of windmills everywhere. And, you can take a look outside of that tiny window. “Say hi to Rob” is what Wim mumbles when I tell him we’re off to the Groeneveldsemolen.
Coffee stop on windmill route
There’s more wind now, but nothing can stop me to get to my final destination, definitely on my list of best windmill in The Hague – Delft . I’ve never been to the Groeneveldsemolen, although it has a big attraction on me. I passed by when a thunderstorm was about to hit The Hague area. It looked like Jekyll and Hyde, its white side overtaken by its dark side. The cycling route from Schaapweimolen to this polder windmill leads past the tiniest village in this region: ‘t Woudt. It’s always busy and gezellig at Koffiehuis de Hooiberg, thé place for a coffee break.
Highspeed windmill scale models
Back on the pedals, cross the bridge and then take a right. Rob, the miller and other volunteers organise many activities for all ages on the open windmill days. Rob is so busy, I don’t get a chance to talk to him today. A kid leads me to the small scale models of different windmills in the polder land. He opens each model and shows the mechanism. At a model of a flour windmill he scoops up some of the grain here, some of the flour there. “See, feel, touch’ he yells through the sound of the turning blades. The blades, wow, the blades of these models. They turn in a high speed. It’s nothing compared to the Groeneveldsemolen itself.
Whoosh whoosh and krikkriek
The blades of this giant Dutch icon turn at a terrifying speed. The doors of the windmill open a view into the wheel. Krikkriek. It rattles as the water runs through. The water gushes out and foam splashes everywhere. It goes without saying that I’m spellbound by the rhytms this windmill makes. Is this the best windmill The Hague – Delft?
Visit the The Hague – Delft windmills
Visit these and other windmills during National windmill Day in May or on the regional windmill day 29 June 2019. Or, book a personalised bike tour with visit windmill. We start in The Hague, Delft or an amazing location in Westland – more than greenhouses!-
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