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"De Hoop" mill
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in Horn

The two village mills of Horn, "de Hoop" and "de Welvaart", are characterised by their special exterior. "De Hoop" has a wooden shell with sixteen sides and a splendid Mansard roof. It is the Netherlands’ only hexadecagon.

Even before the right permit was granted, construction of the windmill on the Muyen- berg, later called the Mussenberg, began in 1817. The principals were two inhabitants of Horn, farmer Jacques Leurs, who also made land available, and miller Willem Evers.

Baron de Keverberg d'Aldenghoor in Haelen opposed the mill’s construction. He believed he could lay claim to a windmill in Horn, based on a privilege granted to his ancestors by the prince-bishop of Liège, the successors of well-known counts of Horne. The baron owned a post mill situ- ated between the villages of Horn and Haelen that used to be the post mill of both villages before the French era. Mill obligation had, however, been abolished by the French and the inhabitants of Horn and Haelen were free to go to the mill of their choice. Due to the construction of the windmill in Horn, the baron worried that his leaseholder of the post mill would lose too many customers. The objections he put forward were however not declared admissible and the governor granted the licence after all. In the early 1840s the windmill was still in the name of Hendrik Verlinden, farmer in Beegden.

In 1883 the Verlinden heirs sold the mill to Jan Michel van de Voort. He was married to Hendrika Hubertina Trouwen, a daughter of the Trouwen- Horix couple, miller in Nederweert. Three years earlier, Van de Voort had become the owner of "De Welvaart" mill in Horn. At the division of the estate in 1905 his son Peter Adriaan Hubert was given "De Hoop" mill,after which he became a miller. The mill was inherited by Jan Mich iel Hubert van de Voort, husband of Maria Sophia Agnes Vermeulen, in 1932.

In the 1930s there were two coupes of “17-er” grinding stones in the mill. A couple consisted of blue German stones that were used to grind buckwheat and wheat. The flour was sieved from the wheat and the buckwheat was hulled using a bolter.

The mill had a short sail of 22 m and the driving gear had a short transmission ratio of 1: 4.4. The mill ground quite lightly, but the capacity wasn’t very great. In 1911 Peter van de Voort positioned a small grinding seat with a horizontally arranged engine in the mill’s brick substructure.

In the spring of 1934 the mill was provided with Dekker vanes which were affixed by the brothers Cor and Piet van Beek from Nieuwe-Wetering (South Holland).

The two Horn windmills were spared from complete destruction in the war. In the night of 15 to 16 November 1944, a German Sprengkommando installed dynamitein the mill "de Hoop''. During the preparations, a hail of grenades suddenly fell on Horn. The British attack on the stretch in the German front between Wessem-Nederweert canal and the Meuse had started. When things were calmer, the Germans sought protection in the cellar of a house near the mill and didn’t return. The damage to the mill was limited and could be restored immediately after the liberation by millers Willem and his son Jos Adriaens from Weert.

Miller Van de Voort died in 1949 at the age of 49. The family had a tough time keeping the milling company going. The wage of a self-employed labourer was too high an expense. The wid- ow of Van de Voort decided to operate the mill herself with the help of her 16-year old daughter Betsie. For several years, she was the only woman who practised the milling trade in a windmill. This attracted the attention of the press, women’s maga- zines in particular. Her courage and perseverance were met with appreciation of the Dutch Catholic Mill association "St. Victor" and the Dutch Mill association "De Hollandsche Molen". The energetic chairman of miller association St. Victor, Harrie Trouwen from Heeze (North Brabant), made means available for an electric support grinder to ease the work of the two women, so grinding could be done with an engine in case of hard or calm wind.

Urgent maintenance was carried out in 1951 by Willem Adriaens and his son Jos where, among others, two long shores, a fantail, the panelling of the Dekker vanes and the classing of the shell were renewed.

In spite of all the appreciation and praise expressed by the associations for the Van de Voort widow, there was no financial help from these associations. The "De Hollandsche Molen" and the St. Victor associations that provided the largest contribution for the restoration still had a shortage of 400 guilders.

The state was asked for 150 guilders subsidy, the province for 100 guilders; it was believed that the municipality could give 100 guilders .Finally, the first-mentioned amount was provided as an interest-free loan; two years later the Provincial Executive of Limburg granted a subsidy of 100 guilders. These amounts are in stark contrast to the subsidies that were granted 25 years later for the restoration of the mills as monuments.

In the late 1950s, the mill’s grinding was seriously reduced due to the use of a hammer mill to grind mixed compound on the farm. With the standstill of the mill, maintenance was also neglected and the rare mill eventually became dilapidated. In 1968 the municipality of Horn decided to buy the mill for 8,910 guilders; two years later it also took on the "De Welvaart" mill.

In 1974 and 1975 both mills were restored by the Adriaens Bros. Company from Weert. "De Hoop" mill underwent the most sizeable restoration since it was built. The entire exterior standing construction, the tail and the streamline system were renewed. The mill’s shell was originally slated; partly still using fine French carnation slate. In this age, Van de Voort had re- placed this covering by roofing felt or Ruberoid because too much slate was loose. Eventually the town council decided to provide the shell with a slate roof again. The cov- ering was applied to a layer of roofing felt so the wooden shell was given more durable waterproof cladding. The Mansard roof clad with oak slate was also provided with a bottom layer of roof- ing felt. After the restoration, where no trouble or expense was spared, the mill looked wonderful.

© P.W.E.A. van Bussel “De Molens van Limburg”. Publication rights obtained from the author’s son.

Opening times: By appointment.

Adress: Molenweg 26, 6085 CK Horn, Phone: (+31) (0)6-29430615