Liberal Arts Blog — Using Wind to Pump Water — Dutch Windmills, Polders, and Waterschap

Liberal Arts Blog — Wednesday is the Joy of Science, Engineering, and Technology Day

Today’s Topic — Using Wind to Pump Water — Dutch Windmills, Polders, and Waterschap

Machines powered by wind have been used to grind grain, drain land, and propel ships. This morning I decided to learn more about the story of the harnessing of wind to pump water. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

HOW THE DUTCH MADE HOLLAND: THE WINDMILL (THAT IS THE WINDPUMP)

1. “God made the earth, but the Dutch made Holland.” (Dutch saying)

2. “Windpumps were used to pump water since at least the 9th century in what is now Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan.The use of wind pumps became widespread across the Muslim world and later spread to China and India.” (Wikipedia)

3. “Windmills were later used extensively in Europe, particularly in the Netherlands and the East Anglia area of Great Britain.”

NB: “On US farms, particularly on the Great Plains, wind pumps were used to pump water from farm wells for cattle…The self-regulating farm wind pump was invented by Daniel Halladay in 1854. Eventually, steel blades and steel towers replaced wooden construction, and at their peak in 1930, an estimated 600,000 units were in use, with capacity equivalent to 150 megawatts.”

POLDERS — LOW LYING LAND RECLAIMED FROM THE SEA PROTECTED BY DIKES

1. “The Dutch have a long history of reclamation of marshes and fenland, resulting in some 3,000 polders nationwide.”

2. “By 1961, about half of the country’s land, 18,000 square kilometres (6,800 sq mi), was reclaimed from the sea.”

3. “About half the total surface area of polders in north-west Europe is in the Netherlands… The first polders were constructed in the 11th century. The oldest extant polder is the Achtermeer polder, from 1533.”

“WATERSCHAP” and “HOOGHEEMRAADSCHAP’ (aka “water authorities” or “water boards”)

1. “As a result of flooding disasters, water boards called waterschap (when situated more inland) or hoogheemraadschap (near the sea, mainly used in the Holland region) were set up to maintain the integrity of the water defenses around polders, maintain the waterways inside a polder, and control the various water levels inside and outside the polder.”

2. “Water boards hold separate elections, levy taxes, and function independently from other government bodies. Their function is basically unchanged even today. As such, they are the oldest democratic institutions in the country.”

3. “The necessary cooperation among all ranks to maintain polder integrity gave its name to the Dutch version of third-way politics — the Polder Model.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windpump

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polder

Polder

Polder model

History of the Netherlands

A LINK TO THE LAST THREE YEARS OF POSTS ORGANIZED BY THEME:

PDF with headlines — Google Drive

YOUR TURN

Please share the coolest thing you learned this week related to science, engineering, or technology. Or, even better, the coolest or most important thing you learned in your life related to science and engineering.

This is your chance to make someone else’s day. Or to cement in your mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply about something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.

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Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.

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John Muresianu

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.