April 23, 1932: De Adriaan burns down. The windmill was built on the foundations of the Goevrouwetoren by Adriaan de Booys, an industrial producer from Amsterdam. It is located in Harlaam, North Holland, Netherlands. Harlaam was granted city status in 1245 but no city walls were built until 1270. Today, 420,000 live in the metropolitan area. The Goevrouwetoren or Goede Vrowtoren (Goodwife Tower) had been the northern support of the city’s wall system over the River Spaarne. By the end of the 18th century, the gate was no longer needed as the city had expanded past it. De Booys purchased the tower and the land around it from Harlaam on April 24, 1778.
De Booys reinforced the foundation and a mill was built to 110 feet above the water level. It also towered over the surrounding city and was used as a landmark. He enlisted the help of miller Henricus Ruijsch to help with the construction of the windmill. De Adriaan was officially opened on May 19, 1779. De Booys had gained permission to a monopoly to produce cement, paint, and tanbark. He was to have this monopoly for a period of 25 years. Business was not as expected since a competitor circumvented his monopoly by bringing cement in from Dordrecht. De Booys sold the windmill to Cornelis Kraan in 1802 for 1,650 guilders. Kraan converted the mill into a tobacco mill in order to produce snuff he could sell in his tobacco shop.
By 1865, the windmill had again been sold and J van Berloo was then the owner. He installed a steam engine to help with production but it was unsuccessful. The windmill was falling into disrepair and in danger of demolition. In 1925, the Dutch windmill society Vereniging De Hollandsche Molen purchased the mill for 12,100 guilders. They managed to save the windmill but it was heavily damaged in a storm in 1930. On the evening of this date, the mill caught fire. Although the fire brigade arrived quickly, they could not extinguish the blaze and the entire windmill was destroyed. The landmark had vanished in an evening. The cause of the fire has never been established.
Immediately after the fire, the citizens of Harlaam took up a collection to have the windmill rebuilt. The owners of the mill, the Vereniging De Hollande Molen, collected 3,000 guilders towards rebuilding. The mill had been insured, but the insurance money was needed to pay off the existing mortgage. The city made a donation of 10,000 guilders in 1938 but the donation was overruled by the provincial council due to the poor economics of the Netherlands and the world in general. World War II intervened. In 1963, Harlaam municipality became the owner of the mill and wished to restore it, but they lacked funds. The plan was revived a couple decades later and finally on April 21, 1999, the first pole was placed for the new mill. De Adriaan was rebuilt on the original foundation and opened on April 23, 2002 as a tourist attraction. The mill is real and works, but mostly as a demonstration for the many tourists who come.
Take care, your worship, those things over there are not giants but windmills. – Miguel de Cervantes
I thought that the description of Don Quixote’s fight with the windmills the funniest thing imaginable. – Stanislaw Ulam
There isn’t a single windmill owner in Holland who doesn’t have a second job, for when there is no wind. – Johnny Ball
In this so-called age of technicians, the only battles we know how to fight are battles against windmills. – Simone Weil
Also on this day: The Bard of Avon – In 1616, William Shakespeare dies.
Boston Latin School – In 1635, the first public school in America (still open) was founded.
Lights, Camera, Action – In 1867, a patent for a zoetrope was granted.
Mississippi Burning – In 1940, the Rhythm Night Club burned.
The Arts – In 1904, the American Academy of Arts & Letters formed.
* “De Adriaan windmill in Haarlem” by Dfarrell07 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:De_Adriaan_windmill_in_Haarlem.jpg#/media/File:De_Adriaan_windmill_in_Haarlem.jpg