The Dutch Windmill Museum located, not in The Netherlands but in Nederland Texas, is a fun and unique museum opportunity located in the heart of Texas. This large, replica windmill houses a museum with unique artifacts from Holland, The Netherlands, and locals who called Nederland home.
The Dutch Windmill Museum was a personal project of the president of the town’s Chamber of Commerce, MLC Lucke and the physical museum was dreamed up by engineer Sam Bass, who created a scale model that is still currently on display in their building. The ground was broken for the museum in 1969 on a small area of city property. In 1970, the Historical Survey Committee of Texas State bestowed the museum with a historical marker that was erected in front of the building. The windmill was designed after an architectural design for windmills that is still frequently used in Holland. Nederland, Texas was originally settled by immigrants to Texas by way of the country of Holland in 1898.
The museum, located in a replica of an original large Dutch windmill (standing 40 feet tall), displays multiple artifacts related to windmills as well as the local culture and history. Below are a few of the artifacts to make sure to keep an eye out for when visiting the museum:
· Trunk: This trunk was brought over to Texas from the Netherlands just before the “turn” of the century and is maintained in pristine condition.
· Wooden Shoes: See these traditional wooden shoes made famous by the people from The Netherlands and appreciated by their ancestors in Nederland, Texas.
· Gold Medal Winner: Local Nederland native Buddy Davis, won a gold medal in high jump at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland. A patch on display commemorates his achievement as a native son.
· Country Music Legend: The museum also contains a collection of mementos from the (now deceased) Tex Ritter, a star in the country western musical genre that resided in Nederland.
The entire first floor of the windmill museum features a fun, western theme and is where the artifacts once owned by Tex Ritter are housed. These artifacts include a suit owned by Tex, a pair of his boots, and a few other Tex specific items that were donated to the museum by his family after his death in 1974.
Admission to the museum is offered totally free of charge to the general public, but the museum always welcomes donations that help support the care of the building and the artifacts located inside. Parking at the windmill museum is also offered free of charge.
The windmill museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 1pm to 5pm until September 1st, then Thursdays through Sundays only from 1pm to 5pm after that. Bus tours are welcome for larger groups, but there will be a small cost charged per bussed in group. These tours requests must be made ahead of time by contacted either the staff at the museum or the Chamber of Commerce/Tourist Bureau by either phone or email.
Be aware that a spiral staircase is the only way to access the second floor of the windmill museum, so guests with disabilities or those that may have difficulty climbing stairs may want to make other plans.
While the museum itself does not offer many special events due to its size, the windmill museum is an important part of many local events and festivals.
One of these festivals, hosted annually, is the Nederland Heritage Fest. The Heritage Fest celebrates the culture of the town and its inhabitants with a huge street fair, complete with carnival rides, native food, and other entertainment. The windmill museum always sees a huge influx of both local visitors and people traveling to the area and is happy to show them all the artifacts inside. It happens in March and runs for an entire weekend, starting on the second Tuesday.
In the winter, the windmill museum dresses itself up for the holiday season in appropriate cultural ways. This is a fun time to visit the museum and enjoy the beauty of the season in a new and different way. Admission to the windmill museum is always free.
There is a small gift shop at the windmill museum that is kept filled with merchandise and souvenirs that have been imported from Holland. Guests can take home a small piece of local culture with a t-shirt, a pair of wooden shoes, or even just a postcard to help remember their visit. This is also a great way to financially support the windmill museum without donating (although they are also greatly appreciated).
Dutch Windmill Museum, 1500 Boston Avenue, Nederland, TX, 77627, Phone: 409-723-1545