Windmills in Eastern Germany
 

Wulferstedt 2 (Bördekreis), Sachsen-Anhalt, 25.02.1995

Photos by

Reinhard Krause

Romantics, on the search for a past and perhaps better world will be disappointed. There is the affectionately reconstructed windmill; lonely - determining the landscape; its wings turning in the wind. But that is the exception; the reality looks quite different.

Pole and Paltrock Windmills

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Windmills, machines which heralded the change from the agrarian to the industrial age, were always business enterprises which had to react to social and technical modifications. If renewals of technology changed the interior life of the mills over centuries, then the change of the outside appearance began with progressive industrialization. Steam, diesel and electric motors replaced the wind as an energy source. Wings and hoods disappeared as extensions for engines were added. Later the new competition of industrial mills led to the massive death of windmills. Only a few windmills could survive using economic niches. Many were converted into living or weekend houses, workshops, restaurants or youth hostels. Enthusiastic mill friends could only conserve a few windmills as museums. Without economic use, very fragile mills fast became ruins. Today, most are derelict, only detected by experts as actually being former windmills.

Tower and Smock Windmills

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Nevertheless the east of Germany is rich in remaining windmills. More than 700 demonstrate all types and modifications. Unfortunately much was lost by inactivity. Mills became dilapidated and collapsed. Ruins that did not correspond with the romantic picture were not recognized as valuable technical monuments and were demolished. Realistically not all remaining locations can be saved. New concepts for use are difficult to find. Using them as a home or a restaurant is not always successful. Reconstructions, equating to a new building, are doubtful.

704  windmills or windmill remains were found and photographed by myself on countless excursions with my wife Anne-Katrin over several years. Some mills may have been overlooked and many mills we found no longer exist.

Landscape with Windmill

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Copyright: Reinhard Krause, Birkenallee 77, 15745 Wildau, Germany

 mail@muehlen-archiv.de

Each duplication is permitted only after consultation