This far-stretching flat landscape of Holland is something beautiful to see, flying over the dikes and polders, standing atop the sand dunes at the sea's edge, or riding across the country in a fast train. One can see the farms and distant cities getting smaller and smaller on a horizon that seems to never end. The wind and the water of this flat land have powered windmills and watermills for grinding grains and spices, sawing timber, and draining water for centuries, and although the number of mills has dwindled from about 9,000 to 1,000, these post-mills, ground-sailers, and octagonal top-wheelers still punctuate this famous flatness with centuries-old Dutch charm.
The paintings of Dutch masters like Rembrandt and Ruisdael immortalized these old mills in their time. Being in the presence of these bits of history as I commute every day, I can't help but sketch the moments when the ochreous Dutch sunlight brilliantly illuminates a mill against dark storm clouds in the distance, or when I see bits of old windmill history in one of Holland's many museums. It makes me nostalgic already, the knowledge that once I leave Holland, these tiny ink and graphite drawings of mine will be all I'll keep of the immense emotional impressions these old mills make, standing and creaking just before me.
A Dutch film maker named Menno Mennes has produced a set of Holland Heritage videos that I absolutely love. Here's a short film by Mennes, "Levende Molens van Holland," or "Living Mills of Holland."