Wednesday, 2 July 2008
Another Dutch X
Special interests > Art & culture > Mills > Language
In days gone by windmills were a dominating factor in Holland, highly due to their huge number. However, times have changed; the arrival of steam engines, diesel engines and, finally, electricity, resulted in many mills becoming redundant. Polder mills were often replaced by pumping stations; industrial mills by factories. Fortunately, there are still about 1,000 mills scattered throughout Holland. As a result, the 'windmill language' tradition has not disappeared!
For centuries windmills played an important role in the local community: farmers not only visited them with their grain but also with the latest gossip. Because windmills were visible from afar, changes to their appearance were soon noticed. Important events in the community, such as births, deaths, marriages and other festivities were signaled by the position of the sails and the manner in which they were hung. Furthermore, by using certain signals the miller could for example call for the millhand to come, communicate that the mill was temporarily not working or that the miller urgently required work. Even today the mills mark festivities and sorrowful occasions, using the 'windmill language'.
I am afraid I don't know what this position means, but it doesn't mean death or birth. Anyway it's another X. Don't forget to go to Mrs Nesbitt's place, for there are some spectacular and impressive X's. Some bloggers are very inventive.