De Otter, Amsterdam

#45 of 69 in Historic Sites in Amsterdam
Architectural Building · Hidden Gem · Historic Site
De Otter is located in Amsterdam. To visit De Otter on your trip to Amsterdam, use our Amsterdam day trip app.
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11 reviews
  • This should be a heritage site. The mill could use a restore, and it is closed off right now, but it is worth the time to visit it. If you go across the canal, you can get a few good pictures...  more »
  • "De Otter" is a windpowered sawmill. It is one of the 5 sawmills that still remain in the Netherlands and it is the only one in Amsterdam. The fact that this windmill still at the same location since....  more »
  • The Otter is one of the few remaining windmills still in existence in Amsterdam. Formerly, there were numerous windmills dotted around the city but sadly only 8 remain today. Construction of the Otter started in 1631, but its architect is unknown. There were at least 49 other windmills in the immediate vicinity, mainly functioning as sawmills. The mills received large orders from the shipbuilding industry and housing construction throughout Amsterdam. Timber was mainly delivered by boat on the wide waterway to the front, still used today as a passageway for industrial barges, many of which sail with the skipper's motor vehicle on deck. Smaller orders were delivered by horse and specially designed wooden carts which enabled them to cross high bridges. The growth of the city began to pose a threat by the end of the 19th century, causing the mills to be dismantled in gradual succession. The area's last remaining wind powered sawmill in operation, Molen De Eenhorn (The Unicorn), closed its doors in 1929 and was dismantled two years later, leaving the Otter as the sole survivor of this once thriving industry. The Otter's wooden windshaft was torn in 1925, as a result of which, its sails were removed, but the rest of the mill remains intact, although unfortunately, the mill is not open to the public, as restoration works are still in progress. Due to the increasing number of high rise apartments in the area, it has become more and more difficult to catch a sufficient strength of wind for normal operation. The mill's owners, Stichting Houtzaagmolen De Otter, wanted to rehouse the mill to Uitgeest, some 32 kilometers away. As the mill had been designated as a national monument in 1977, it required permission of the local government who were strongly opposed to the idea and several court cases ensued. Fortunately, for the time being at least, it remains in Amsterdam. Of the 1,000 or so windmills still in existence in The Netherlands, De Otter is the oldest remaining example of a Paltrokmolen (post mill), its name being derived from a Paltrok, a loose fitting gentleman's jacket. Viewed from a distance, the mill's silhouette is reminiscent of someone wearing this type of jacket. There are some beautiful spots to view the mill on the opposite side of the Kostverlorenvaart waterway with an ample number of benches.
  • This is not on any tourist stops. There are benches along the canal to sit and enjoy the views. Worth visiting if you want to see the 8 Amsterdam windmills.
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