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The True Story of America’s Authentic Dutch Windmill

By Alisa Crawford

America’s only authentic operational Dutch windmill, De Zwaan serves as Holland, Michigan’s iconic connection to the community’s roots. Believed to have been built in 1761, then moved to the village of Vinkel in North Brabant, The Netherlands, where it produced flour for eighty years, the windmill was dismantled, shipped to the United States, and reassembled in 1964. For more than a half-century, “The Swan” (the translation of De Zwaan) has drawn visitors from all over the world.

Alisa Crawford, De Zwaan’s miller—and the only Dutch certified miller in the United States—shares a fascinating look at the story of this historic structure as well as other American- and Dutch-built windmills. Through years of research and interviews with people connected to De Zwaan, she reveals the true origins of its construction, the damage it sustained in World War II, its journey to America, its resurrection as a working mill, its rise as a premier Midwestern attraction, and even the effect its relocation had on the village of Vinkel.

Delivering the only complete story of this working mill and an extraordinary collection of images spanning its life in the Netherlands and America, this book is a collector edition to commemorate De Zwaan’s productive and lengthy career and the City of Holland’s commitment to this significant monument of living history.

Nonfiction  ISBN:978-0-98897725-9 | Soft cover | 8.5 x 10 format | 168 pages | 200+ Illustrations |$27.95 Free U.S. Shipping

Alisa Crawford has been working in the history field since the age of 15, and in mills since the age of 17. She holds a BA in history from Kalamazoo College, and a Masters Degree from the Cooperstown Graduate Program in History Museum Studies. Although raised in Michigan, she has worked, studied or interned in a variety of additional states including Virginia, Massachusetts, Kentucky, New York and Hawai’i. In 2002, she returned to her love of mills by joining the staff of Windmill Island in Holland. In 2006, she began her training in the Netherlands, and in September of 2007 became the first overseas student to become a Dutch certified miller. In 2009, she continued on to qualify for the professional millers training and by 2010 completed the course and was admitted into the professional millers guild as the only woman among 35 Dutch men. Alisa has been featured in several magazines and articles in both here and the Netherlands. She continues to blaze a trail that is all her own, reaching new heights along the way, and proving that she is far from a “run of the mill” woman.

Contact the author at alisa.maidenmills@gmail.com