Different Color Scheme for Our Mills

To preserve the rich history of Kinderdijk, the Nederwaard mills, like the Overwaard mills, are being restored to the color scheme they had when they were last in operation. This remarkable project not only brings to life the fascinating history of our iconic mills but also demonstrates that the mills were indeed simple and utilitarian tools.

For a long time, the mills of the Nederwaard in Kinderdijk featured beautiful colorful paintings around the top, green with white edges. However, this has changed recently due to new painting on the fourth and fifth mills of the Nederwaard. These mills now sport a new, more subdued color scheme. The choice for this new color scheme was not made lightly!

Why black?

Thorough research was conducted into the color scheme during their last operational phase, or the final years before they were permanently decommissioned, to paint the mills. This research was conducted in collaboration with the experts of our partner AkzoNobel, based on an extensive collection of old photographs and historical documents. By opting for the period when the mill was last in operation, we can showcase the entire evolution of these tools. Additionally, the original color scheme from the 18th century is no longer easily traceable. Therefore, reconstructing the image of the last operational phase is the most accurately feasible due to the availability of more source material. This research revealed that the mills were not as colorful in the past as they are now, but had a more sober and functional appearance.

Service Residences

The new (or rather old) color scheme of the mills will remind visitors that these sturdy tools served as residences for the millers and that their function was crucial for water management in this low-lying land. This project is not only a tribute to the past but also provides visitors with the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the role these mills played in Dutch history.

“One of the main goals of Kinderdijk UNESCO World Heritage is to preserve the historical story of this unique part of the Netherlands,” says Jan-Willem de Winter, Heritage and Management Manager at Kinderdijk UNESCO World Heritage. “And that should be reflected in every detail. The mills were simply painted as tools, while the nearby Waardhuizen (warden houses) were painted much more vividly. Over the years, the mills of Kinderdijk have become increasingly colorful. But it no longer told the right story. Bringing the mills back to this sober color scheme is an important milestone in our efforts to tell and preserve the history of Kinderdijk accurately.” The eight mills of the Overwaard were already restored to their modest color scheme of Sikkens between 2000 and 2006.


Hoek Family

The mills whose woodwork was painted first are inhabited and operated by Jan and Arie Hoek. This family has been closely connected to Kinderdijk for generations. Arie Hoek, the tenth-generation miller in Kinderdijk and resident of the fifth mill of the Nederwaard, is pleased with the new paintwork and says, “A World Heritage site should be passed on to future generations as truthfully as possible.” Both brothers were closely involved in providing information about the old color schemes.


Other Mills

In addition to the fourth and fifth mills of the Nederwaard, the other mills in the World Heritage site will also gradually be painted in this historical color scheme. The mills of the Polders Nieuw-Lekkerland and Blokweer have already been restored to this scheme. Here too, the millers actively contributed. It will take some time before this is visible in all the Nederwaard mills, but the process has begun!


This project has been made possible by tourism revenues, our partner AkzoNobel, support from the government and the province, and the generous donations we have received from all over the world.

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The author

Lisanne Vermaas

Lisanne Vermaas

Allround Marketeer