Picture: the solid tower of the Saint Quentinschurch in Oostkerke .
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Oostkerke village windmill
Location: Eienbroekstraat 3, 8340 Oostkerke [gps]
The village windmill of Oostkerke was referred to for the first time in 1336 and was at that time property of the lords of Oostkerke. Later mentions date from: 1459, 1481 and in 1571 by Pourbus. During the 80-years war (1568 - 1648) the mill was destroyed. By the end of the war the wooden standardmill was rebuilt (in 1643 to be precise). In 1874 the wooden mill burt down to the ground.
Immediately after the fire, the current stone mill was erected on the same artificial hill where the old mill used to be. One of the mill-irons still dates back to 1643 and in the hood of the mill you can read the year 1874. There is also a commemorative stone for the deadly accident that occured here in 1924: the young son of the miller was seized by one of the turning wings and did not survive the accident. After this incident the miller did not use the windmill anymore.
In 1960 a committee was founded to support the mill. The first repairs were made and the committee ensured that the mill became a legally protected monument. In the period 1970 - 1973, the new owner had the mill fully restored and some 20 years later the windmill could grind grain again.
Curiosity: watch the weathervane! It's a mermaid. She refers to the legend of mermaid Cassandra who was captured by fishermen from Damme. You can find her on numerous windmills in the Zwin area.
The windmill stands just outside the centre of the village and is accessible to the public. For the opening hours, please contact the Tourism Office in Damme.
© Hendrik De Leyn - www.damme-online.com