Tulips, clogs, and windmills: few things are more emblematic of the Netherlands than these three elements. When travelling through the country, you’ll rarely pass by a town or village where you won’t spot the unmistakable sail of a windmill. And if you’re visiting the Hague, a large city in the Southern Holland region, the most iconic windmills of the city suburbs can be found in the form of Molendriegang…
While traversing through the Dutch countryside, what immediately becomes apparent is just how level the landscape is. It’s one thing to know that the Netherlands is flat, and an entirely different thing to witness it for yourself. Populated by waterways, sheep, and plenty of fields, you can see well into the distance. And it becomes immediately obvious why Dutch bicycles have no gears…
Molendriegang: The Iconic Windmills of the Hague
Found just a short cycle ride away from the Hague (around half an hour), the Molendriegang are three traditional Dutch windmills. Perfect for those looking for a photography spot away from the hustle and bustle of the Hague, they make for the perfect day trip from the city.
‘Molendriegang’ is quite literally translated as ‘three windmills,’ and once upon a time, the mills were used to dry mill the De Driemanspolder. For those unfamiliar with the term ‘polder’, it’s a piece of low lying land which has been reclaimed from a river or from the sea which is then protected by levees.
Look hard enough, and you can even see inscribed on the façade of one of the windmills: “Anno 1672”, denoting their 17th-century roots. Unfortunately, one of the mills was struck by lighting in the early 1900s and burned down. Following its reconstruction in 1903, a pump was installed in another of the windmills in the 1940s.
Since 1951, the windmills have been retired from use as the windmill corridor had too little capacity when it came to draining water. Unfortunately, this means that the Moneldriegang interiors are closed to the public. With this being said, you can get surprisingly close to the windmills via the cycle paths.
How to visit Molendriegang
The easiest way to see the windmills are by bicycle. The ride is entirely flat (with the exception of an overpass or two) and is 9 km in length, meaning that it takes around half an hour to cycle from the Hague city centre. Should you wish to visit for yourself, the best time of the day to go is earlier in the morning when there are fewer people around. With this being said, although this iconic view of the Hague is pretty famous, it’s never too busy!
The closest town to the windmills is that of Leidschendam. Inhabited for millennia, today the settlement is focused around the Vliet Canal, which in turn leads to the beautiful city of Leiden. Today, highlights of Leidschendam include wandering the town’s many cobbled lanes and snapping photos of the beautiful architecture.
A couple of kilometres cycle away, the historic town of Voorburg is often said to be the oldest settlement in the Netherlands. In 1998, Voorburg celebrated its 200th birthday. While the town has since been incorporated into the sprawling and ever-expanding fabric of the Hague, it still retains a kind of village charm that’s well worth checking out.
Elsewhere in the Hague, you won’t want to pass up the opportunity of Maurithuis (a mansion from the Golden Age) or tour the Binnehof (the Dutch parliament). If you want a more comprehensive guide to visiting the Hague, then my friend Karen over at WanderlustingK has written a complete guide to the best things to do in the Hague!
Oude Kerk (Old Church), Voorburg