We reached the Netherlands and I can see why all the dutch masters filled their canvases with three quarters of sky. It’s constantly cloudy here but because the landscape is so flat the cloud formations and light is a spectacular feature. Today we landed in Kinderdijk, pronounced ‘kinder-dike’, and went on a tour all about the Netherland windmills and how they keep Kinderdijk from drowning.
This is not a great example of the amazing could formations I saw while there, but its close. The landscape had at least 12 windmills in the distance and I think our tour guide said there were hundreds of windmills around this area. We had a later excursion today, so after a short walk in the morning we returned to the boat where I could sit out of the sun and rain to draw the windmills in the distance. You can barely see them in this photo so I had to use my artistic powers of zooming and draw everything closer. One of the windmills were moving so I had to best judge the comparative angle of the sails on the fly. I wanted to capture the atmospheric perspective here, but I think I went a bit too dark on the landscape in the far background. Close to the end of our tour we were able to get so close to the windmill that it was almost scary. The sails were turning super fast and the windmill was pumping tons of water.
The group of mills here is the largest concentration of old windmills in the Netherlands. The windmills of Kinderdijk are one of the best-known Dutch tourist sites and serve a necessary purpose beyond just being a tourist destination. These windmills move hundreds of thousands of liters of water per year keeping the water level of this area at a manageable height.
Here is short video of the windmill doing its job, its quite spectacular when your right next to it. What is more interesting is that each of the two arms that form the sail weigh about 2000 pounds. Not only that, the whole head of the windmill can turn to face the wind when needed. The engineering that went into building these windmills completely out of stone and wood is amazing, yes so simple that almost anyone could work it, or “sail” it, as they refer to it.
The interior of the windmill was quite cozy actually. It was a bit small but, not too bad if you consider living and working here all in one place. Not much for entertainment though, I think this is why some of the millers were know to have so many kids.