DUTCH millers got to experience the daily grind of an English mill last week when they visited the Maud Foster Mill in Boston.
Jan Eeland, a qualified master miller and volunteer at the Molen De Hoop (The Hope Mill) in Maasdam, in the Netherlands, and two volunteer milling apprentices Ruben Viergever and Jesse in ‘t Veld visited the mill, owned by James Waterfield as part of a tour of 14 windmills, watermills and drainage mills across the country.
Jan said: “We are using James’s mill and looking at English windmills to try and see a new point of view to milling.
“In the Netherlands millers have 50 traditionally run mills, and mostly to to make a huge amount of product, whereas over here it’s more quality of the product that counts.”
The Maud Foster Mill is one of the few remaining commercially-operating wind-powered cornmills in the UK and opens its doors to volunteers on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The visit to the mill gave the apprentices, who have worked and studied under Jan every Saturday for the past five years and operate a number of restored mills, a chance to expand their knowledge and skills of milling and windmills in the UK compared to those in Holland.
Some of the main differences according to the two apprentices were the machinery used to operate the mills and the distance between mills in England compared to the Netherlands.
Ruben said: “In England mills are a bit further apart from each other, I can do 10 mills a day in the Netherlands but here you can be sat in the car for an hour before seeing another one.
“I come from an island about 100km and if you want to see all the mills it takes a day, over here it takes a week.”
Jesse added: “It’s really special for us to see some of the systems.”
They explained that milling was part of the tradition and culture in the Nethlands and lots of young people worked in them, whereas they felt over here young people saw mills as buildings and not as machines and so were not as interested.
The mill the Dutch millers work at in the Netherlands, the Molen De Hoop, is a cornmill from 1822 and was working until a couple of years ago but it needs repairs and restoration.
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