The importance of the windmill for the Netherlands
Windmills have been used in western Europe since the 13th century. It started mainly for grinding grains in standard mills. The mill was also used for pumping away water that could not be discharged in any other way. The rotary mill derived from the standard mill has made many wet areas habitable. Further improvements to these mills made it possible to dry entire lakes and lakes. They turned the low-lying countries by the sea into the current Netherlands. They also led to a huge increase in prosperity. around Amsterdam, in particular, the Zaanstreek, the first industrial area in the world was created, about 1000 mills milled and made everything, flour, paper boards, guns, oil and much more. That period has entered history as the Golden Age. Thanks to these windmills, the Netherlands got its geographical, innovative-technical and political face.
The invention of the steam engine at the end of the 18th century provided a powerful and reliable tool that could be deployed without being dependent on the capriciousness of the wind. As a result, windmills gradually disappeared from the landscape.
Data from 1492 show that at that time there was already a stand mill as a forced mill owned by the burggraves of Montfoort at the current location. The position mill is also indicated on the map of Jan Blauw from 1649.
The current mill was built in 1753 as a replacement for this standard mill. Until 1941, the current mill with two pairs of grinding stones served as a flour mill. The mill was then stopped, and it fell seriously into disrepair.
In 1953, the current mill was purchased and restored/converted into a home and office. The appearance of the mill was retained in this way (although some windows were added), but the interior was largely removed.
Around 1980 the mill was transferred to the De Utrechtse Molens Foundation. This foundation ensured that the mill was operational again in 1988. Yet it took until 2009 until the mill was officially put back into use
If you are aware of the fact that the mills have been used since the 12th century, it is all the more impressive to see the technology of the mill. The great forces needed to turn the grinding wheels and in the mill in Montfoort, there are three. And that because of the wind that turns the four blades. All the power gathered on a central axis, the royal spindle and that divided over all the functions that you need as a miller. But even then, safety (how can I stop the blades) and the health of the mill (how do I get the bags up) have been taken into account. In De Valk windmill everything has been restored to its original state. Almost everything made of wood with mostly original parts. Everything powered by the wind. Grinding, peeling, hoisting (lazy) and transporting everything is there. As a real production mill, millers produce around 10 tonnes of flour every year. A beautiful piece of technology. To know more, come along or read the technical stories on this and other sites.
If you are also fascinated by the history of the mill or by the technology. Or would you like to hear the beautiful stories of the mill? Then visit us and be guided by one of our millers. They know the mill down to the last detail and are happy to share the wonderful stories with you. A real experience. Keep in mind that the mill is only open on Saturdays. If you are on a different day or if you have a larger group, let us know and we will see what we can do for you.
Fill in the form below and we will let you know what is possible.
The De Valk mill currently has a large number of enthusiastic millers. About 5 certified millers and 4 millers in training. These millers come together every Thursday evening to further refurbish and expand the mill. For example, in addition to refurbishing the grinding stones, the peeling stone has been made operational again in recent years. The mill expanded, among other things, with a mixer, elevator, and fan. Not only is there hard work, but there is plenty of time for socializing. Production is on Saturday, provided there is enough wind.
If you also want to become a miller, come and talk to our millers. Remember that the miller's job is pretty tough. Anyone who is physically or psychologically unable to operate the mill under any circumstances cannot become a miller.
You can register via the registration form on this website. If you want to start the training you must be at least 14 years old. For further details about registering and the ways in which you can be a member of the GVM, see Membership.