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The Windmill Story Part 2

Last week I proudly reported that the De Zwaan Windmill is the only authentic Dutch-built working windmill in the United States. And it’s right here in Holland Michigan!

Snips from the Holland Sentinel told the story of how one man’s desire to bring a windmill to Michigan from the Netherlands was shared by the Holland City Council, the Tulip Time Board of Directors, and local businessmen.

How would they bring this idea to fruition?

Brigitte Werner on Pixabay windmill-3901896_640

Let’s return to the Holland Sentinel:

Wednesday May 16, 1962; “Because of its name and its close association with the motherland, Holland was chosen by the Netherlands government in 1942 as the location for its midwestern office of the Netherlands Information Service…” “Since its inception, the NIS office has operated in City Hall with Willard C. Wichers as its director.” “Wichers latest assignment (this time from Holland city) is a visit to the Netherlands to attempt to get an authentic windmill for Holland, Mich. This assignment is all the more difficult since Dutch windmills have been declared national monuments to reduce its number of popular landmarks.”

Wednesday June 6, 1962; “Willard C. Wichers will present a report on Project Windmill [to the Holland City Council] regarding Holland’s efforts to obtain a windmill from the Netherlands for this city. Wichers recently spent two weeks in the Netherlands working on the project.”

Thursday June 7, 1962; “Following a review of Project Windmill developments by Willard C. Wichers, who recently returned from the Netherlands, City Council Wednesday night voted unanimously to extend an invitation to A. J. de Koning, technical advisor to the Foundation of Netherlands Windmills, to visit Holland, Mich., to advise and consult with the mayor’s committee regarding site and construction of an authentic windmill here. Costs of the project have not been determined, although Wichers said Dutch officials tentatively put a price tag of 100,000 guilders ($28,000) on such a restoration project.” “Despite earlier discouragements because all Dutch windmills are national monuments, Wichers emerged with the encouraging report that this city probably would obtain one of the last two mills to leave the homeland.”

Thursday July 5, 1962; “A community barbeque with a new twist was being planned today by the Holland Jaycees. Besides being merely delicious and entertaining, the Jaycee-sponsored “Project Windmill” Barbeque, slated for July 24 in the Civic Center parking lot, will be primarily informative. Jaycees say the object of their “Project Windmill” Barbeque is to inform Holland residents of “Project Windmill” and to allow residents to meet A. J. de Koning, an authority on windmills from The Netherlands.”

Monday July 9, 1962; “Plans are progressing for the Junior Chamber of Commerce sponsored chicken barbeque for Project Windmill at Civic Center July 24. Purpose of the community event is to welcome A. J. de Koning, noted Dutch authority on windmills, who is coming to Holland to study possible locations for an authentic Dutch mill which, it is expected, will be moved here from The Netherlands. De Koning, who will spend two weeks in Holland, will be on hand to answer questions on windmills. Motion pictures and slides on famous Dutch mills will be shown inside Civic Center.”

Can you sense the heightened anticipation around Mr. de Koning’s pending arrival?

Stay tuned to see what happens during the two weeks he visited Holland!

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