Windmill Talk series: Sawmill "Het jonge schaap" (the young sheep)

Het Jonge Schaap, left on the picture, was the last windmill of the Schaep family. In Dutch, schaap also means sheep, so you can also call this windmill the young sheep! It was one of the many sawmills of the Zaan, known for their high quality of work. The windmill that now stands between De Os and De Zoeker is not the original, in fact, it’s the most recent addition to the Zaanse Schans. Not only can you visit the fantastic windmill, you can also buy wood to whatever measurement you need.

The Schaep family was one of the many entrepreneurial Zaansider families. Het Jonge Schaap was their final acquisition. Back then it was also called "Het Grote Schaap", the big sheep. Alongside this windmill, the Schaep family had several more wind saw mills in operation, Het Witte Schaap and Het Zwarte Schaap, the white sheep and the black sheep respectively. They were pioneers in the lumber industry, which at the time Het Jonge Schaap was built in 1680, was in full swing; the Zaan region counted some 350 wind saw mills at its peak, providing for Europe’s explosive economic growth and constant warmaking. (The dutch were also well renowned for their prowess at sea, with well built ships made from the highest quality wood)

The windmill you will visit has only been standing since 2007, two years after its construction began. It is however, an exact replica of Het Jonge Schaap that stood behind Zaandam station until its destruction in 1942, 7 years after it stopped operating. It’s thanks to the initiative of Anton Sipman that the windmill once again stands alive and well. before its destruction, Anton measured every single part of the mill, so it could be precisely rebuilt.

The Zaan region may no longer be the lumber capital of the world, but for specially cut pieces of wood from Het Jonge Schaap, it’s still the place to do your shopping! Aside from the carpenter within you, this windmill is a perfect destination to meet or learn about Holland’s history.


Erik Schippers