Galleried flour- and hulling mill De Liefde

The windmill De Liefde is located on the corner of the Schoolstraat and the Mennonietenkerkstraat at Uithuizen, in the province of Groningen.

De Liefde is the only surviving windmill of the four that once stood in Uithuizen. Even before 1600 there was a windmill at this site; this was a post-mill. The last post-mill was pulled down in 1866 and replaced by a different type of windmill, an octagonal smock-mill with a gallery, named De Liefde ("Charity").

Following the retirement of the last professional miller in 1986, the mill was thoroughly restored in 1992-'94, and nowadays De Liefde is operated by a volunteer miller.

The mill is of a type characteristic of the Groningen region. This is evident from several easily observable features: the projecting buttresses at the eight corners, branching struts supporting the gallery ("crows' feet"), double gallery doors, automatic shutters on the sails, and the national red-white-and-blue on the cornice just below the cap.

The mill stands on a man-made mound 1.5 metres high and the gallery is a good 7 metres above the ground. The structure is 20 metres high and the length of a pair of sails is 21 metres. The mill contains 5 floors above the ground floor: the winnowing floor, where the loose husks were separated from the barley; the milling and hulling floor, which is level with the gallery; the millstone floor; the hoisting floor; and - right at the top - the dust floor.

The brick-built base carries the octagonal timber superstructure, covered with horizontal weatherboarding; the cap is covered with vertical boarding. An ornate wooden board, known as the "beard", is situated just below the poll end of the windshaft (axle), bearing the name of the mill and the year of its construction: De Liefde 1866.

The mill has two large doorways, through which in the old days the farmers would drive their horse-drawn carts loaded with sacks: in through one door, out through the other. The curved, brick-paved track is still to be seen on the ground floor. The sacks would be hoisted into the mill through a trap door overhead.

Inside the cap lies the massive cast-iron windshaft, cast in 1902. At its protruding front is the massive poll end, which holds the two steel sailstocks. The four sail frames are provided with an automatic swifting system: a device by which wooden shutters can be opened and closed to adjust the sails to the state of the wind. The cap is held in place on the octagon merely by its own weight, so that the cap and sails can be rotated in any direction to face the wind. This is done by turning the wheel on the gallery.

Originally, De Liefde both milled grain and hulled barley, producing wholemeal flour as well as pearl barley for cooking. Different millstones were used for these two processes. Wheat was ground between two millstones, the upper of which rotated. One pair of these is still operational. The two hulling stones, whose spinning motion flung the barley grains against a rasp, are still present but are no longer in use.

Immediately to the east of the windmill is the 17th-century tax collector's house (Sarrieshut - Mill tax inspector’s house) dating from the days when a tax was levied on the grain. Today the building accommodates the local Tourist Office.

Opening hours:

Whenever the blue pennant is flown or the sails are turning, the mill is open to visitors. This is on most Saturdays, from 1 to 4 pm.

This page is part of   de-liefde-logo   the homepage from B. D. Poppen.

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