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Windmills of Time
Of course, you have to visit the windmills in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is synonymous with windmills, clogs, tulips, canals, cheese markets, pretty much everything you would expect to find in a charming and utterly picturesque city. But whatever image one associates with the city, the first thing that comes to mind is the windmill (molen).
The importance of these windmills or living monuments is such that there is even a National Windmill Day (May 11). On festive occasions or national holidays, windmills are adorned with flowers, garlands, figures of angels or the Dutch flag. For centuries, windmills have helped the Dutch fight water shortages, so it’s no wonder they were the first to develop ‘windmill technology’. In its glorious past, the Netherlands had more than 10,000 mills, but today windmills can only be counted up to 1,000.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to leave Amsterdam to see a molen or windmills. Like most things in a multi-dimensional city, everything is literally on your doorstep or a short bike ride away. There are actually 8 windmills in the heart of Amsterdam – but only two are open to visitors. If you want to visit a 17th century molen, opt for De 1200 Roe on Haarlemmerweg 465, De 1100 Roe on Herman Bonpad 6 or the Riekermolen located along the Amstel River. For a later example of molen art, try D’Admiraal on Noordhollandschkanaaldijk 21 or De Bloem on Haarlemmerweg 701, which has actually been moved from its original location.
De Gooyer or Fuenmolen is the home of Bierbrouwerij ‘t Ij, a brewery that still sells the traditional Dutch beer Y-lake (Ijmeer). On the first Saturday of the month, one can see the action of the windmill. The two remaining windmills are Molen van Sloten, which is very popular with tourists, and de Otter, which is probably Amsterdam’s best kept secret. Fortunately, these windmills can still be visited today.
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