Windmills in Zeeland
An emblem of our ingenuity and industry, the windmill still features prominently in the landscape of Zeeland. Once we depended for our livelihoods on these winged giants. Now, the remaining 70 windmills in Zeeland are more a reassuring landmark to visit and a dignified icon of a productive past, when they ground out flour, timber, oil and barley. There are various models of wind-driven mills in Zeeland – when we say mill, we usually mean windmill.
Built upon a mound, spanning a passage below for horse and cart, the beltmolen is also known as a bergmolen. The Zeeuws word ‘berg’ means an earth mound. All remaining versions – still operable today – are corn mills. Probably the best known is the Jonge Johannes mill near Serooskerke on Walcheren – but more for the children’s farm next door.
Called grondzeiler because its sails can be unfurled by the miller from the ground, its blades almost reach the ground. Do not approach when the blades are turning. Because of the very real danger, the area is often roped off. The grondzeilers in Zeeland are corn mills, and most of them can still operate. The mill at Moriaanshoofd on Schouwen-Duiveland is a typical grondzeiler. You can see it from along the main road from Zierikzee to Westenschouwen.
This is the oldest type of (horizontal axis) windmill, where the mill’s wooden housing pivots turns on a wooden post, also known as a standard (standerd). They are now only four post mills in Zeeland. The only one on Tholen, in Sint Annaland, can be visited by appointment on Saturdays. The other three standerdmolens are in Waarde, Kloosterzande and Retranchement. The latter is also a hulling mill, when it removes barley husks.
By far the most windmills in Zeeland are tower mills. They are typically located in built-up areas, and are very high to catch adequate wind. Their Dutch name is stellingmolen, because they were often an integral part of the construction of a town wall defensive ring (stelling). At the famous tower mill De Graanhalm in Burgh-Haamstede you can eat pancakes prepared with flour milled on the premises. In Middelburg the Seismolen is the focal point every summer of the annual food truck festival known as the Culikaravaan.