2004
Volume 8, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2468-2187
  • E-ISSN: 2468-2195

Abstract

Abstract

This year the Association (vereniging) celebrates its centenary. The association was founded to call a halt to the large-scale demolition of wind and water mills in the decades around the turn of the century. This article sketches for the first time, for the period 1850-2020, a quantitative picture of the decline of what is considered the icon of the Netherlands. A distinction is made according to type, function and region. In the description and analysis, use is made of an extensive inventory of disappeared and existing windmills. A comparison with other sources shows that this database includes most of the windmills (approximately 85-90%) that functioned in the period after 1850. For water mills this percentage is probably substantially lower. The analysis shows that industrial mills have already largely disappeared due to the introduction of steam power. Polder windmills in the western Netherlands have also disappeared in large numbers with the use of this new power source. In the Northern Netherlands, however, things were different: here, especially after the turn of the century the use of suction gas, diesel and electric motors meant the demise of the polder mill. Mills that were used for the processing of agricultural products actually still functioned in large numbers almost everywhere until the tens or even the twenties of the 20th century. When it comes to water mills, there is a distinction between mills with an industrial application and an agricultural one: the first group suffered large losses due to the introduction of steam; the second by the introduction of fossil fuel engines. The analysis shows that between 1880 and now only one in seven mills has survived the transition to industrial power sources. In addition, it is demonstrated that the current mill stock is not a representative reflection of the stock at the height of the use of mills around 1880.

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