De Wachter – English

De Wachter (guardian)

De Wachter corn and oil mill in Zuidlaren was built in 1851 by the Van Bon family from Midlaren. The flour mill, an octagonal mill, is a combined flour and oil mill. This means that not only was grain milled there, but there was also an oil mill. Both were powered by wind power.

In 1895 the mill was purchased by the Medendorp family from Zuidlaren. Medendorp was progressive and modernized. The mill was expanded in 1898 with a spice mill. Because bread had to be on the table even in windless weather, two steam engines were built that same year. One generated electricity for the oil mill, the other powered the spice mill via transmission belts. From 1906 the oil wringers were also driven with this.

De Wachter thus received the first steam-driven energy supply. Very special at that time, because the village of Zuidlaren did not receive electricity until 1921. In 1923, the mill switched to electricity from the public grid in Zuidlaren and the steam engines were decommissioned. The mill remained dependent on the wind for grinding grain. - De Wachter - Zuidlaren

Decline of mills

In the 1930s, many Dutch mills had to stop competing with the industry and fell into disrepair. Of the approximately ten thousand mills in the Netherlands, there are still about a thousand left today, of which only five hundred are capable of grinding. This is how “De Wachter” also fell into disrepair. In the 1920s, the oil mill and the spice mill were closed and many parts of the mill were demolished, including the steam engines. In 1950, miller Medendorp also decided to shut down the flour mill. The end for “The Wachter” then seems near. - De Wachter - Zuidlaren

Restoration, a long-term matter

Jan Medendorp’s grandson, J.D. (Diek) Medendorp, transferred the mill to the Koren- en Oliemolen “De Wachter” Foundation in 1989. This foundation has further restored the mill and brought back the original steam drive. An initial expansion with a bakery and bakery shop has made it possible to make the entire process “From wheat to bread” visible. Several (working) steam engines were subsequently installed. A number of village professions and crafts (blacksmith, clog maker, adjuster, shoemaker, farmer) have now been brought together in a second extension. There is also a large collection of utensils (farm, tools, household) on display. This means that De Wachter is now much more than a mill. Museum de Wachter has grown into a true experience park for young and old. - De Wachter - Zuidlaren

The oil mill in operation

A large group of volunteers works in and out of season to preserve the cultural history and craftsmanship of “De Wachter” and make it accessible to current and future generations.

Bolwerk 11
9471AT Zuidlaren
The Netherlands

De Wachter