Why is Netherlands called the Land of Windmills?

Windmills are machines that make the wind energy perform useful work. They were used in Asia as early as 600 A.D. and reached Europe in the 12th century. In the early windmills, a wheel with long sails was fixed to a tower. The whole tower could often turn to face the wind. As the wind turned the sails, the turning wheel moved the machinery inside the mill. This machinery was used to do useful work such as turning the mill or pumping water from wells. Modern scientists have developed windmills to generate electricity. Netherlands has a large number of windmills, that is why it is called the ‘Land of Windmills’. This is because most of its land lies below the sea level. Windmills were used and are still being used to pump water into the canals from the low-lying areas that are full of water. Nowadays, however, more and more electric pumps are also being used for this purpose. When the windmills first arrived in Europe in the 12th century, Netherlands and Germany made their maximum use. The horse-power produced by the German windmills ranged from 2 to 8. The Dutch windmills produced as much as 8-14 horse-power. In the 17th century, there were as many as 8,000 windmills functioning in Netherlands alone. In the 19th century, Australia and U.S.A. too started using windmills for pumping water. With the invention of electricity, windmills lost their popularity. However, with the recent emphasis on developing alternative sources of energy, windmills are back in a big way. Today’s windmills, often called wind turbines, are usually fitted on towers made of steel girders and are used to generate electricity

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