Windmills. One of the first things you think of whenever you hear the words “Holland” or “the Netherlands.” The stereotype is true — you’ll be pleased to know that there is no shortage of these iconic buildings in the Netherlands and for many places, it’s the gem of the area.
Of course, the Netherlands is more than just windmills, but it’s still a great excuse for a visit. So if you’re living in the Netherlands and fancy a windmill trip, or if you’re doting on Dutch life and are coming to visit, then don’t forget to check these out!
Here are seven great windmills to visit in the Netherlands.
Kinderdijk isn’t just one windmill, but a whole windmill park. It’s located in South Holland and if you’re a tourist, there are many tour companies that drive there to give you a tour. The windmills are actually still lived in, so don’t be surprised to see someone’s underwear hanging up outside.
Kinderdijk is not only one of the Netherlands’ 10 World Heritage sites, but also has a small museum, a cafe and shop. You can do a boat tour taking you alongside the windmills, or a walk or a bike ride around the area.
Zaanse Schans is similar to Kinderdijk in the sense that it’s a windmill park, but Zaanse Schans is by far the most popular of the two. There are plenty of things to do there too, you can actually go inside many of the windmills and some are museums and shops. Take a bike ride around the area, enjoy a walking tour or explore some of the local shops. It’s also easy to reach Zaanse Schans from Amsterdam.
Tip: Avoid peak times in the summer, it gets very busy with all of the tourists, so if you live nearby, go off-peak — in clock form and in time of year too!
5Molen de Valk
Molen de Valk is found in the beautiful Leiden, the home of DutchReview. It’s been there since the start of the 17th century, so it’s certainly one of Leiden’s pride and joys. I have to walk past it every time I go to the DR office and it dominates the area. The mill was originally used for grain and now it’s a little museum.
Don’t forget to visit Leiden (it’s beautiful!) and take a visit to the windmill. Great for your Instagram and it’s a great place to be in general.
4The windmills of Schiedam
If you’re after impressive windmills, then Schiedam is your place. Schiedam is home to some of the highest windmills in the whole world — equal to eleven floors high! The purpose of these huge windmills was to grind grain, as they used this to produce Jenever — making it a famous city for the product. You can learn all about this inside one of the windmills (De Walvisch), which has been transformed into a museum.
3Molen de Adriaan
Haarlem is another beautiful city sporting an iconic windmill. The windmill has been around since the 18th century but was completely destroyed in a storm in the 1930s. It was later rebuilt and made into a museum which tells you about the Netherlands and windmills and how these transformed the country. Not only is the windmill great to visit, but Haarlem itself is beautiful and is well worth a visit.
So if you haven’t been there already, it’s not too far from Amsterdam (if you’re a tourist), so go!
Looking for windmills in Amsterdam? Here you can find De Gooyer, which is one of Amsterdam’s most famous windmills. It was built in the early 16th Century, so it’s certainly old. It’s not in the place where it was first built, as it has been moved around Amsterdam. You’ll find the windmill turning on the first Saturday of the month, so it’s the perfect time to see it in action while on your Saturday morning walk.
De Dikkert is an old sawmill, which used to be in Zaandam. However, now it’s now a corn mill and is found in Amstelveen. It is now restored. Therefore, again, if you’re around the Amsterdam area, then it’s the perfect place to visit. What makes it unique is that it is a restaurant too — so if you’re ever want to say you’ve eaten in an old windmill in Holland, then here’s your chance!
Free windmill day! National Mill Day
A perfect time to visit the windmills is on National Mill Day on the second Saturday and Sunday in May every year. On this day you can enter hundreds of different windmills for free!
Also, it’s the day to witness all the windmills turning, so it’s certainly a unique day in the Netherlands and the perfect day to see all of the windmills for yourself (if only you get around them all that is).
So there you have it — seven great windmills to visit in the Netherlands. There are plenty more where that came from too (we just listed our favourite and the most popular ones here). See — the stereotype is true — the country is full of windmills. 😉
Have you ever visited any of these? What about other windmills to visit in the Netherlands? Let us know in the comments!
Feature Image: Emma Brown/Supplied
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in February 2019, but was fully updated in November 2020 for your reading pleasure.