The year 2020 started off bad, burning down one of the Netherlands’ windmills because of a fireworks incident on New Years eve. Could this have been a sign of all what was to come? Probably not. Luckily, they’re able to restore this windmill.
According to tradition, this windmill was a relocated Zaanse windmill, something that has turned out to be correct: it concerns the De Oude Haas oil mill, built before 1650 and demolished in 1848 in Zaandijk.
In Bovenkarspel the windmill was—not coincidentally—named “De Haas”, but when in 1908 the Venhuizer Cooperative Agricultural Purchase Association annex mill, called “Ceres”, bought this mill, the mill was promptly given that name.
For decades, millers Jan Dekker Sr. and Jr. ground the animal feed for the farmers affiliated to the cooperative, first on wind power, later electrically. The millstones kept turning until 1968. After that the windmill was still regularly in operation, but the animal feed came from the factory in Hoorn.
In 1986 the Westfriese Molens foundation became owner. At that time, there was already clear evidence of decay: the lower quay in particular was deteriorating and the stability of the windmill was endangered. Fortunately, a few enthusiastic volunteers were concerned about the mill’s fate.
The Friends of the Ceres mill foundation was established; the dismantling began in 1992 and shortly afterwards the restoration started, the first phase of which—restoration of the lower surface—was carried out on many free Saturdays. Hood and top octagon were placed next to the substructure, after which the latter could be renewed. The windmill was subsequently restored in stages; In mid-1998, Ceres was grinding again and then again frequently spinning and grinding.
On the evening of 31 December 2019, things went completely wrong here: this windmill caught fire as a result of fireworks and was severely damaged as a result.
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It looked very serious, but the fire brigade managed to extinguish the fire.
On 1 January 2020 in the morning in daylight it was established that the windmill had survived the fire.
Not much later it was established that the construction had remained strong enough to be repaired, although a great deal of work would have to be done.
On January 8, 2020, the rods were hoisted from the mill, the hood was removed and more work was put on the ground next to the windmill.
Through crowdfunding they tried everything to gather funds for the restoration. A great amount was donated through companies and private individuals. Ceres also won the BankGiroLoterij Molenprijs in October, earning the sum of €75.000.
In the meantime, many people had started working on the windmill. The most intensive and “dirty” job was scraping the top octagon. A specialized company used the so-called dry ice cleaning to clean the going work. Many fire-damaged parts, such as field crosses, had to be replaced, but the octagon posts were all still usable.
In November 2020, the thatcher could start to provide the octagon with a new coat.
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The hull consists of a somewhat lightly built pine top and bottom. The underside has two uprights standing parallel to two uprights and is placed on a table element on two piers placed parallel to them. During the reconstruction in the 1990s of the 20th century, the substructure was raised 75 cm compared to the old situation. The grinding attic, which is also the rack attic, is relatively high. There are two pair of grinding stones on the somewhat low attic. The towing gear is mounted on a rim on the track wheel. The windmill has a fairly short kingpin, which rests on the bottom bint layer of the top octagon and is made slidable by means of a swirl beam at the bottom end.
Until the beginning of the 20th century, there was a peeling stone that must have been in the attic. This unusual location indicates that the husk was probably not installed when the windmill was built, but was only installed later.