5591 JE Heeze
This week for Windmill Wednesday’s I took a little drive to Heeze. I had been to Heeze twice before, once to visit Kasteel Heeswick and once to visit the Artist Heeze. Both of these beautiful places are a must see in this area of The Netherlands. But today was about a windmill.
Sint Victor is a round stone mill built in 1852 in Heeze, The Netherlands. I rambled into the little town without an address thinking the town was so small I’d see it. Much to my surprise, it was a little bigger than I remembered. A big thank you to the friendly townspeople for pointing me in the right direction. But the best part was yet to come.
I pulled my car around the corner and there it was… a beautiful post mill with a stunning black and white exterior. The blades were spinning softly in the gentle breeze. There was a kind lady coming from a nearby home and I asked if I could take some pictures of the windmill. She said, “yes of course but you should go up and see if you can look inside”. “Up?”…. I asked… she said “yes, just climb up the stairs and say hello”.
A smile blazed across my face as I climbed up the stairs and shyly called out “Hello”.
Three kind men greeted me… the miller, the builder and the windmill blade fixer.
Gerard, Wim and ?
I explained who I was and asked if I could take some pictures. The miller proudly said… “You won’t find a finer windmill in all of The Netherlands.” He then added that all millers felt the same.
As I looked around at the sacks and sacks of flour he explained that each year the mill produces about 36 tons of flour. Today was a light breeze day so the blades were slowly rotating past the windows.
Scale from 1942. Behind you can see the closed door. This is not a safe door to go in or out because of the blades.
The safe door
We stepped outside the safe door for me to get a close up view of the blades in action. He explained that on a good day the blades rotated around each second. There was a little fence in place so no one would step in front of the blades.
The blades on the Sint Victor were unique as they had a metal section covering part of the blade like on an air plane. He said that it was improved during 1942 as the windmill was needed for help during the war and aero dynamics had come into play. This greatly helped to keep the windmill from the elements from the weather through the years. Since being built in 1852, the Sint Victor had been struck by lightning twice and had suffered two fires as well. But the mill is now fully restored and a working mill.
I was confused on the date the mill had been built. It had been built in 1852, but at the top there is a piece of wood that clearly says a date of 1841. But this date is from the windmill in Nederweert. It was used on the Sint Victor for some repairs.
Another interesting story that Gerard told me that in the 1500, 1600, and the 1700’s , the owners or families of the castles would demand taxes from the towns people. The castle people apparently owned everything from the land, to the animals and the wind. Yes, the families or people who operated the windmill had to take taxes to the castle to help pay. Apparently Bonopart put an end to this taxation.
I think this is why I’m so interested in the windmills. I love finding out the history of each one and sharing that information with my friends.
Sint Victor in Heeze… definitely worth a visit.
One other side note... Gerard has been featured in the book called Natuurlijk Biofood. Turn to page 59
And there he is.