Windmills of Time

Naturally, one must visit the windmills when in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is synonymous for its windmills, clogs, tulips, canals, cheese markets, practically everything that one would expect to find in a charming and utterly picturesque city. But, whatever image one associates with the city, the first thing likely to come to mind is the windmill (molen).The importance of these windmills or the living monuments is such that there is even a National Windmill Day (11 May). On festive occasions or national holidays windmills are decked out in flowers, garlands, figures of angels or the Dutch flag. For centuries, windmills have helped the Dutch fight water shortages so it is little wonder that they were the first to develop 'windmill technology.

' In its glorious past, the Netherlands boasted more than 10,000 mills but now the windmills can be counted to a mere 1,000.As opposed to the popular belief, one does not need to leave Amsterdam to see a molen or windmills. Like most things in a multidimensional city, everything is literally at one's doorstep or just a short bike ride away. There are in fact 8 windmills at the heart of Amsterdam ? but only two are open for visitors.

If you want to visit 17th century molen, go for De 1200 Roe on Haarlemmerweg 465, De 1100 Roe on Herman Bonpad 6 or the Riekermolen located along the Amstel River. For a later example of molen artistry, try D'Admiraal on Noordhollandschkanaaldijk 21 or De Bloem on Haarlemmerweg 701, which in fact has been moved form its original location.De Gooyer or Fuenmolen is the house of Bierbrouwerij 't Ij- a brewery that still sells the traditional Dutch Y-lake (Ijmeer) beer.

On the first Saturday of the month, one can view the action of the windmill. The two remaining windmills are Molen van Sloten, highly popular with tourists, and de Otter, which is quite possibly Amsterdam's best-kept secret. Fortunately, one can still visit these windmills today.

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By: Rahul Viz

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