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Polders Windmill
Wind- & Water-powered Noise Generator
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The PoldersWind PoweredPumpingCalm InsideInner StructureWater WheelUpper DeckWooden GearsFlapping Wings1773 Surprise!

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Wind blows. Water flows.

Welcome to the Netherlands. We are in Cabauw in the province of Utrecht, which lies two meters below sea level. To keep the land dry, water is carried away via an impressive number of small canals and pumped to increasing heights, ultimately reaching sea level. The history of the Polders — the land below sea level — starts around the tenth century when farmers started draining swamps using small irrigation channels. When the ground started sinking drastically — a couple of meters in a few centuries — wind mills were needed to drain the water more effectively. These mills were used as giant pumps, harvesting the force of the wind to drive water wheels. Around 1450, the first mills appeared. A couple of centuries later, thousands of them were active in that area.

This soundscape was recorded at the Cabouwse Molen, which was built in 1454. The windmill burned down in 1772, but it was rebuilt in just a couple of months since you can't afford to have a broken pump when you live below the sea level. Today, the windmill is still made of the same wood that was used when it was rebuilt. The cracking sounds you hear in the soundscape are rich with hundreds of years of history!

Special thanks to Joost Schalken-Pinkster, a Dutch fan of this site who organized the sampling session, and Erik Stoop, the friendly miller who enthusiastically took part in the project and gave us access to the mill. Pictures taken during the sampling session are available in our Sampling Sessions Photo Album.

Published by Stéphane on March 27th, 2017

User Stories

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  As a Dutch person far away from home, in the dark Scottish winter, this reminds me of a windy summer back in the Netherlands.

  Since the windmill has stopped due to technical problems, it is so nice to hear its sound again...

  It was hynotic. I have been hacking away at writer's block for over a month, and this helped me power through it like it was nothing. I just pictured myself sitting at a tiny desk in the upper deck, the windows open and with no other obligations.

  This + Osmosis = heaven.

  This was a well thought out collection - thank you! It was quite enjoyable going through the various settings and visualizing that portion of the windmill. The Polders setting was nice for hearing the natural settings alone, very soothing. It's a tough choice for the sleep test but I'm going with The Water Wheel this time... I've been logging my dreams with the various sounds on the whole site.

  Wow, the Wind Powered preset sounds like a very big creature flying! :)

  Thank you for this. I live in Manchester UK. It is the 1st Monday after the Manchester bombing and then the carnage in London. Im finding it very hard to concentrate at work and finding both this site and this sound has helped greatly. Talk you to all connected with this. Tony.

  Hey, that's a nice one! Appreciated!

  I <3 this one! The birds in the background + the wind = exactly what I hear (and see) if I ride my bicicle to school (15 kilometers towards Zwolle in Overijssel NL). I could go by train, but then I would have to miss this great atmosphere every morning and afternoon.

  Originally from the Netherlands, I cherish memories of long walks through the polders. I now live in one of the noisiest countries in the world... Your site helps me stay focused at work and when I discovered this new soundscape today I was so happy. Thank you. I can almost smell the koffie met appeltaart en slagroom ;-)

  MyNoise, take me away! This is just what I needed today to stop zoning in on the BEEP BEEP BEEP reversing alarm of construction equipment down the street from me. It's soothing, like I could close my eyes and be in a tranquilly isolated coastal spot enjoying a gentle, cloudy day :)

  Being from the Netherlands, I first chuckled a bit, then I sat down listening... and somehow got all down to earth and relaxed. Amazing how sounds of 'home' can calm your senses!

  I can see myself falling asleep, lulled to this.

  Lovely! A really original and charming idea, and such a nice combination of water, wind and industrial sounds.

  I can see this becoming one of my favourites, since it combines such a relaxing environment while a lot is working around you, giving you that sense of going with the work flow with so much ease.