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Photos of Zaanse Schans Windmills by Paul Gipe

Windmills may have been the driving force of the industrial Revolution. During the eighteenth century the Zaan region northwest of Amsterdam (Noord Holland) became Holland's powerhouse. There Dutch millers constructed what must have been an amazing assembly of more than 700 industrial windmills along the Zaan River. Some suggest there were as many as 1,000. These windmills drove Dutch industry at a time when Britain and Germany were still trying to figure out what to do with a black rock they found underground.

Monuments to the region's halcyon days can still be seen at Zaanse Schans open air museum near Zaandam. There the Dutch have preserved ten windmills that were used to saw timber, mill flax, grind grain, crush spices, shred tobacco, and grind pigments for paint. The also have a couple of small drainage mills as well.

The photos below were probably taken in the late 1980s—long before digital metadata.

All photos copyright by Paul Gipe. All rights reserved.

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