On the banks of the Spaarne river stands one of Haarlem’s most iconic sights, the De Adriaan windmill. It has an interesting history and we took the opportunity to have a 45 minute guided tour around it.
Originally built as a defence tower against the Spanish and the English in the 1500 and 1600’s, the windmill was rebuilt in 1778 by Adriaan de Boois to mill seashells and oak bark It was also used to grind limestone from Bavaria to trass which is used in cement. The town’s wooden buildings kept burning down and the cement was used to replace the wooden buildings with brick buildings ones.
The mill was sold again in 1802 to a tobacco merchant who ground tobacco to make snuff which, in the time of Louis Bonaparte was enjoyed both by Bonaparte and the gentry. In 1865 the mill was changed again, this time to mill corn. It continued to grind corn until 1932 when a catastrophic fire burnt the mill down. In 1999, thanks to the people of Haarlem who raised 2.5 million Guilder, the current mill was rebuilt and reopened on 23 April 2002 as a museum.
The 45 minute guided tour of the windmill is not to be missed, with exhibitions of the windmill through the ages and the chance to experience the 360° views of Haarlem from the viewing platform 12 metres up. With 75 steps to climb, some on stepladders, it is sadly not for disabled visitors. Our guide, Felice, was very knowledgeable and peppered the tour with interesting and amusing facts, and even offered us some candy!
Address: Papentorenvest 1 a, 2011 AV Haarlem
Tel: + 31 23 545 0295
For current opening times and admission prices visit the official website.
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