Winschoten

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Winschoten (About this sound pronunciation , Gronings: Winschoot) is a former municipality and city in the northeast of the Netherlands.

Population (1 Jan 2003): 18.497; area: 22,24 km2.

The origin of the name of Winschoten is not known but it has received nicknames. One of these is Molenstad (or Milltown). It has also been known, in living memory, as Sodom. This name arose out of the Jewish community who were scandalised by the immoral behaviour of their Gentile neighbours. The inhabitants are also called Tellerlikkers (plate lickers).

Winschoten was the capital of the 'Oldambt' district, in a fertile agricultural region. Winschoten received city rights in 1825. It was the last town in the Netherlands to be granted such rights. The town flag has three horizontal stripes of blue and white, in ratio 1:3:1, on the white stripe is a red outline plan of a fortress with nine embattlements. It was adopted 23 May 1973 by municipal resolution.

Winschoten has a railway station on the line from Groningen to Leer (in Germany) and a road connection to the rest of the Netherlands via the A7 motorway. The railway station was inaugurated 1 May 1868 to service the Groningen - Winschoten - Nieuweschans line. This was the second brought into use by the Company for the Exploitation of State Railways (Maatschappij tot Exploitatie van Staatsspoorwegen (MESS)) and part of the route from Harlingen, Friesland, to Nieuweschans (built 1863-1868). Today this route is operated by Arriva.

Contents

Windmills

There used to be 13 mills in Winschoten, today only three large, monumental windmills remain in the town. These mills are now owned by the local council and are run by volunteer millers. They form an important feature of the townscape and are well cared for by the local authorities for the benefit of the community and visitors.

Molen Berg, built in 1854 at the Grintweg, was designed to grind corn. Its first owner was J.D. Buurma. The unusual design of the sails with movable blades, akin to venetian blinds was in advance for its time. Traditionally Dutch windmills have tarpaulin covering the sails to control or catch the wind's power.

The Dijkstra Molen in the Nassaustraat was built in 1862 by D.E. Dijkstra. In 1953 the original owner's grandson sold it to the local government. It was restored 1982/1983 and further restoration work took place in 1995/6 restoration.

Molen Edens, at Nassaustraat 14, was built in 1763 on the instructions of Jurrien Balles and Antje Gerbrands. Later owners were Jan Joesten and G. Eikema. Then from 1855 till 1960 various generations of the Edens family owned it. The local municipality bought it in 1960. It is the oldest mill in the entire province of Groningen.

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