Saturday, April 16, 2016

Meppel Windmills (Netherlands): De Weert and De Vlijt

Last month March I went on a weekend roadtrip to Drenthe, a province in the northeastern part of the Netherlands that I have not been to. It is in fact the only province in the country that I have not visited, up until last month.

Volunteers working on Molen De Weert.

My first stop is the town of Meppel. From the original 28 windmills that used to grace the landscape of Meppel, it now has only 3 surviving, and luckily 2 are located in the historical centre of town.

1) Windmill De Weert which I have visited and is a working windmill up to now.
2) Windmill De Vlijt which I managed to passed by only.
3) Windmill De Sterrenberg which is also a working windmill but unfortunately I was not able to visit and I also didn’t have a picture. The windmill is located 10 minutes outside the town centre.

The distance between the two windmills that I have visited and seen.

Molen/Windmill De Weert

The windmill was built in 1807 as a flour mill. Because of the Molen De Weert Foundation and its dedicated local volunteer group, the windmill is preserved as a national monument, and in fact, still functions today as a working flour mill.

When I visited the Molen de Weert, I didn’t realise that it is a working windmill. I thought it was a museum or a national monument of interest, so I was a bit surprised when I saw different types of flour sold in the ground floor. As I was inspecting the flour products, a young volunteer greeted me cheerfully and told me that I can go up the mill if I want to. Of course, not letting the opportunity pass by, I took it as an invitation and went up.

In the second floor of the windmill I was received by a group of volunteers having coffee. In an instant I felt like I was a stranger barging in to their territory. Up to this point I still did not know that the windmill is a working flour mill, haha. The group was quick to notice my unease so they all smiled and told me to walk around as I please. A man in his 50’s came over and started a conversation with me. He was very nice to escort me further to the third floor where the shop is located, and then he showed me the mill and the rest of the premises. We talked about its history, the milling operations, about Meppel and many other local stuff in general.

He said that the flour mill deliver its products to bakeries, restaurants and private individual clients in Meppel and throughout the region. They even have customers as far as Den Haag. I bought a bottle of mustard from the shop and saw that it is made in Zaandam. The man was quick to point out that the ingredients were milled here in De Weert.

Flour products and this one is good for pancakes. If you have not tried Dutch pancakes, then try them at a Dutch Pancake Restaurant next time you are visiting the Netherlands.

This is the second floor of the windmill where they have a shop.

You can see the milling operation process. I did not bother to go up anymore. The Zaanse mustard I bought made in Zaandam were milled in Meppel at De Weert. 

Moi here enjoying the surroundings from the upper deck of the windmill. It was a beautiful blue skies day in the Netherlands.

From the deck of Windmill De Weert you can see the other surviving sister, Windmill De Vlijt.

Molen/Windmill De Vlijt

Perhaps the most picturesque windmill in Meppel?

Isn't she pretty?

The original windmill on this location was burned down and in 1858 Molen De Vlijt was rebuilt. It functions as a grain mill and is currently looking for donations to help preserve the monument and the landscape of Meppel. Maintenance costs of a windmill such as this is very expensive but I am sure that locals are doing their best to make sure De Vlijt stays in Meppel.

I was not able to visit this windmill though. She does look very beautiful from the street, being sandwiched in between residential houses and situated on the De Reest River as well. Truly a picturesque image of Meppel that the townsfolk are surely proud of.

Quite special that the windmill sits between 2 residential houses.

Travel Period: March 2016
Destination: Meppel (Drenthe), The Netherlands

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