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Windmills pump water.  They are the reason The Netherlands exists.  They pump water from a polder, a diked area, over the dike and into the river, lake, sea, or whatever surrounds the polder.

Some years back when pumping technology had rendered all of Holland's windmills obsolete, these windmills were scheduled to be dismantled and replaced by something more modern.  A Dutch princess, it is said, observed that the world knew only a few things about Holland:  tulips, wooden shoes, dikes, and windmills.  The Dutch kept these nineteen windmills for posterity.  Today, Kinderdijk is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and these windmills are preserved by international agreements.

Windmills such as these can pump 50,000 liters per minute.  That sounds like a lot, but the newer pumps will move 1,500,000 liters per minute, enough to fill an olympic swimming pool in 100 seconds (1:40).  If the world's ocean level is rising it may not be that the ice caps are melting;  it may simply be that the Dutch are pumping.


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The position of the vanes have a meaning.  When the vanes look like a plus-sign ('+') it means "temporarily not pumping - taking a break".  When they look like an 'X', it means "I have shut down pumping".  A vane at "11 o'clock" signifies happiness — births, weddings, anniversaries, and other celebrations.  At "1 o'clock" they signify sadness — sickness, death, and misfortune.

The vanes shown here are positioned at "1 o'clock" — you're seeing them from behind — and commmemorate the loss of many Dutch aboard Malaysian Air flight MH17, shot down over the Ukraine.


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Back aboard the Var, we depart for Cologne, Germany.  We will dock in Cologne tomorrow morning and have most of the day for sightseeing, but first...


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...dinner.  Seated at the table are (l-r) Gayle Roe, Carolyn Martin, Frank Clarke, Norene Clarke, Kathy Oleksy, Pat Marietta, Marcia Emmett, and Marcia Walsh.  A waiter will later whisper in my ear:  "I have seen tables of six with one man, but never a table of eight.  You must tell me how you did it."

Clean livin'.  That's my story and I'm stickin' to it...