On our visit to Zaanse Schans to see the Historic Windmills, we visited Het Jonge Schaap, a sawmill. Before we visit the mill, I want to explain that around about 1920, there were only about 20 windmills left of the 1000 that had made the Zaan district the oldest industrial area in the world. On the 17th March 1925, a windmill society De Zaansche Molen was founded to preserve the mills for further generations. The society now owns thirteen industrial windmills and Het Jonge Schaap Sawmill is the societies latest asset.
I keep thinking of how a 1000 windmills would have looked like, especially being industrial ones, with all the bustle and noise. We have lots of windmills in the Fens where we live, most were drainage pumping mills, but quite a few for flour, at one point it would seem that nearly every village had one. There are still many left in some of our larger towns, but these are single mills, not a 1000, yes it must have looked amazing. But back to the Sawmill, which is also called ‘The Young Sheep’ but I have no idea why. Just incase no one notices, the mills are covered in thatch, apart from the green painted ones.
The original sawmill was from the the former Westzijderveld and was demolished in 1942. Reconstruction started on the basis of some drawings, using the latest technology. The first pile was sunk into the ground on 24th September 2005 and the mill was open two years later on 27th September 2007.
The mill is a cap winder, only the cap turns in wind by means of a winch, the so called capstan wheel that is operated on the platform (the balcony). At the peak of the industrial mill industry, there were more than 200 sawmills in the Zaan district. When circumstance were favourable and they were working hard, they could saw around twenty logs a day. There were usually five people staffing a sawmill, off encamped at mill formerly morning to late at night.
Thats the last of the windmills, sorry for the amount, but I really enjoyed visiting them, as you can tell 🙂 Next post, cheese and clogs.