More than a thousand windmills sprung up in Zaanstreek – right next door to Amsterdam – during the 17th and 18th centuries. Making it into a hot innovation spot with many startup windmill business. They sawed wood, threshed corn, pressed grain and nuts to oil, milled coloured powder from chalk and ground snuff from tobacco leaves. All sorts of craftsmen moved into the area including tin founders, boat builders and sail makers.
Others may still perceive them as unique once in a lifetime experiences, vices even – we Amsterdammers have accepted those vices as virtues.
Amsterdam like many cities is constantly changing, morphing to adapt to new realities. Where the old is no longer used it opens new opportunities. Leaving the industrial era and entering into a service related economy, leaves behind vacant buildings, that are first only known to a few urban explorers.