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Wood sawmill De Rat IJlst

Like water flows from high elevation to low, so air flows from high pressure to low. The energy of flowing air is captured in the sails of wood sawmill De Rat in IJlst. Using cog wheels, spindles and axles, this energy is converted into the movement required for the up and down motion of saw frames. This is how logs are sawn into planks. The UNESCO cultural heritage craft of miller has been carried out at De Rat for around 300 years already. A visit to this wood sawmill brings history back to life. Smell the aroma of freshly sawn wood and hear the pounding of the saw frames and the swishing of the sails. Wind energy at its finest.

From the Zaanstreek region

Like water flows from high elevation to low, so air flows from high pressure to low. The energy of flowing air is captured in the sails of wood sawmill De Rat in IJlst. Using cog wheels, spindles and axles, this energy is converted into the movement required for the up and down motion of saw frames. This is how logs are sawn into planks. The UNESCO cultural heritage craft of miller has been carried out at De Rat for around 300 years already. A visit to this wood sawmill brings history back to life. Smell the aroma of freshly sawn wood and hear the pounding of the saw frames and the swishing of the sails. Wind energy at its finest.

Drawing by Frans Mars, showing wood sawmill De Rat second from left, in its original location.

Visit the mill

IJlst loves wood

IJlst, one of the famous eleven Frisian cities, is also called ‘wood city’. For years, Swedish and Norwegian tree trunks were brought here using huge log rafts. The trunks were sawn by the legendary timber traders Oppedijk and S.O. de Vries. First with wind energy, then with steam and finally with electricity. The wood was needed for the construction of ships, Frisian farms, churches and skates.

Koninklijke Fabrieken J. Nooitgedagt & Zn. from IJlst owes its fame to this last product. Even though skates were actually by-products, as were wooden toys. Woodworking tools were the main product. These were made with craftsmanship and a passion for the craft by the employees of this factory, the largest employer in IJlst. A giant chisel, which once stood in front of the factory, is a reminder of this. This craft-related work of art can now be found on the roundabout at the Zuidwesthoekweg and the Stadslaan in IJlst. Why not also visit Museum Houtstad IJlst, at a stone’s throw from the mill. Here you’ll find the old steam saw from wood trader Wed. W.J. Oppedijk still in operation. On special steam days, you can see the original saw frame once again powered by a steam engine.

Visit the museum

Mill paradise in Southwest Friesland

No less than 30 mills can be found in Waterland van Friesland. Mills that drain water, grind grain or saw wood. When cycling or walking through the landscape, you cannot miss them. And some are open for visitors. Extra special is the Langweerder Mill between the Frisian lake Langweerder Wielen and the polders behind it, as it’s the only mill in the Netherlands that is both a polder-drainage mill and a rye mill. But the best thing is, you can spend the night in it. An experience unlike any B&B or hotel.

Overnight stay in a mill