The Land Where the Wind Blows...Netherlands
Can you hear the sound of whirling blades slicing the air? This is a windmill, a well-known symbol of the Netherlands. The windmill is 18 meters tall and each of the blades measures 15 meters long.
It was built in 1738, which makes it nearly 270 years old.
This is the village of Kinderdijk in the Netherlands. The village is situated in beautiful landscape abundant in water resources. Although the actual settlement is about only 1 square kilometre, there are 19 windmills in total operating here.
But why do the windmills keep turning?
Let me explain it to you.
First the wind moves these blades, which then moves the turbines, and
..the turbines pump the water out. But for what purpose?
To drain trapped water from the lowland area.
One windmill can pump water up to 1.5 meters high.
Here is how it works.
Windmills take the water from the channel you see on the right and pump it up to the higher drainage canal. This procedure is repeated many times until the water is transferred to the desired level.
Eventually, the water is released into a tributary of the Rhine. Have you noticed that the land lies lower than the river level?
If there were no windmills here the whole area would be flooded.
A quarter of the Netherlands actually lies below sea level.
The windmills have converted a marshland area into fertile farming land and prevents this country from being flooded
At one time there were about 10,000 windmills dotted throughout the country, however, following the introduction of steam powered pumps during the industrial revolution began in the 19th century the number of windmills has rapidly decreased.
Nowadays electric power is used as the major energy source and only about 950 windmills still remain across the country.
Kinderdijk is the only place where all 19 windmills still remain in operation.
He is one of the keepers who takes good care of the windmill.
This windmill also serves as his house.
Lets look inside the building.
Oh, his family is in the middle of lunch. Please excuse us!
17 of the 19 windmills here are occupied by mill-keepers and their families, conserving these important cultural monuments.
In order to move the blades the keepers must read the wind carefully. The blades are trimmed to harness the wind and keep turning.
They are covered with sailcloth material.
The cloth can be fully or partially set, depending on the force of the wind.
Dutch sailing techniques are applied here.
This time the keeper sets the cloth fully on one blade, but has rolled-up half of the cloth inside the next blade. The keepers use their skills and experience to decide how to set the cloth.
The blades seemed to have caught a nice wind.
Windmills will continue to operate in this beautiful pastoral landscape for as long as the wind continues to blow.
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