On July 14th 2008, 'The Story of Dutch Windmills' has been released on DVD by Museion Media, a crossmedial publishing & production house in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. This monumental series of documentaries on the windmills of the Netherlands has now been made accessible to an international audience by this English version.
The DVD is playable worldwide because it contains a PAL version on one side and an NTSC version on the other. It is for sale on dutchwindmills.tv.
'The Story of Dutch Windmills' is the international version of the acclaimed Dutch television series on windmills entitled 'Werken met Wind en Water'. This DVD offers an in-depth documentary on the windmills of the Netherlands, past and present, in four parts. The series was directed by John Twigt, a distinguished director of television programmes and documentary films. "The project itself was monumental in scale", he says. "We must have shot up to 200 hours of footage. That is a lot by any standard. The research too, was quite extensive."
The research for the series was conducted by Huib J. Lirb, who was trained as a historian at universities in Amsterdam and Leiden, in close cooperation with De Hollandsche Molen, the prime association for the Preservation of Windmills in the Netherlands. "This has resulted in an original story designed to do justice to contemporary concerns and current insights", says John Twigt. The comprehensive story therefore entertains, educates, amazes and inspires. "As a powerful icon, Dutch Windmills, rich in variation, continue to help define and articulate the Dutch landscape," the director continues. "At the same time, they symbolize the resourcefulness and inventiveness of the people in the Netherlands."
The Story of Dutch Windmills is informative and educational, therefore. But above all, it is a most entertaining story. These documentary stories have been purposefully made by acclaimed Dutch filmmakers. They feature the real thing and the real people.
As part of the narrative, well over a hundred windmills are shown, most of which in action, as well as a few examples of other types of mills - including a very rare working horse mill. Much of the inner workings of windmills is explained, along with the actual production processes they power, as we are witness to the extraordinary lifes of modern-day millers.
For unlike most other DVDs on the subject of windmills, 'The Story of Dutch Windmills' presents the viewer with real documentaries, such as the compelling history of the use of drainage windmills in the struggle against rising waters, or the equally remarkable story on the rise of 17th century Holland as an industrial power due to, in large part, the industrial windmills. 'The Story of Dutch Windmills' goes well beyond the cliché.
"Of course we offer stunning images of windmills," says director John Twigt, "which is what people would rightly expect. We shot windmills in any season and in all kinds of weather, both in the gorgeous light for which Holland is famous and in the stormy weather which is also a fact of life in the Netherlands." So although the cinematography is breathtaking at times, the true significance of the Dutch Windmill has to also be borne out by the narrative and the testimony of the people involved in their preservation and operation. "It was vital, therefore, to show them in full operation," John Twigt continues, "and not just as idle monuments in the landscapes. We have portrayed dozens of windmills from within to see what they are about. How they work. What they do. Their mechanical structure is always impressive. These machines have got soul. As a miller from the Zaanse Schans said: You must try to find the very heart of the windmill. And that is precisely the point of our story."
It has taken more than one and a half year to film the challenging number of extant windmills for this epic production. It includes footage of the famous windmills at the Zaanse Schans and Kinderdijk. In addition, 'The Story of Dutch Windmills' also presents unique historical footage dating from the beginning of the 20th century which was discovered during research for this project.
The original Dutch version of 'The Story of Dutch Windmills' has been aired nationwide in the Netherlands in the summer of 2007 by AVRO broadcasting company. The Dutch language DVD was a huge succes in the Netherlands. And now, finally, international viewers are able to enjoy this unique DVD thanks to the release of this English version. Viewers taking an interest in the study of the Dutch language, moreover, will appreciate the Dutch subtitles which are also included in this English version DVD.
More information on the producers, please see: museionmedia.com. Information on the original Dutch series in six episodes can be found at: werkenmetwindenwater.nl. For more information on the English version DVD "The Story of Dutch Windmills", see: dutchwindmills.tv
About the Producers
Museion Media is a crossmedial publishing and production house in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and a joint venture of experienced video and television professionals at Workstation BV and Dutch Indies who share their interests with the Muses. These therefore range from the visual arts to the performing arts, from the history of art to the art of history. Fields of particular interests include music,
architecture, historical geography, industrial heritage, cultural landscapes, personal stories, popular historical culture, traditional skills, economic history and archaeology.