In yesterday’s Kinderdijk post I shared the variety of weather conditions that we experienced at Kinderdijk; during the 90 or so minutes that we were there, the only season we missed was Winter!
The classic Dutch windmill is an engineering marvel that can withstand centuries of whatever Mother Nature throws at it…
Starting at the top, we have the cap of the windmill; its head, so to speak. This section can be rotated around its vertical axis, as it sits on wheels inside the cap. This enables the miller to turn the windmill into the wind, so that it can generate its power.
This rotation is achieved using the capstan wheel, which is on the tail of the windmill. Chains are attached to anchor points in the ground, and then the wheel is turned to rotate the cap in the direction of the anchor point. Note the gentleman in the wood shoes; he’s the miller responsible for this windmill, the Nederwaard No. 2, which houses the Windmill Museum.
Of course, you need a braking mechanism to slow down rotation of the sails; the brake handle sticks out from the cap; this on his painted in the colors of the Dutch flag, red, white and blue.
When the miller wants to operate the windmill, one of the interesting jobs is to unroll the canvas to cover the sail; this involves climbing up the lattice and tying the canvas to the sail. Not that it can be reefed, just like a sailboat, to adjust for the strength of the wind. Imagine climbing up in wooden shoes when the breeze is picking up; I think this could be a harrowing bit of work.
As we’re getting ready to wrap up, I took one more look back through capstan wheel to soak in this majestic view!
I felt lucky to get this turnaround in the weather, because with this sun and clear air, the scenery of Kinderdijk is simply glorious!