Part of a windmill was broken off in the Netherlands yesterday. This happened in Zeewolde, along the Eemmeerdijk (N704). The incident caused havoc, no one was injured. Remarkable: the evening before, the windmill already stopped due to an error message, and the mill is part of a park that will be renovated next year.

    Directed by Klein Hegeman, Daan van Eendenburg

    5 Jan. 2023


    This is one of the windmills along the dike in the municipality of Zeewolde, in the province of Flevoland. The top part of it broke off and fell down. The path next to the dike is barricaded by the large obstacle. The rest of the windmill is located on the verge of the road and against the dike. The large rotor blades have landed on the piece of farmland next to it.

    Judging by the debris, the fall must have been a hard blow. The top of the more than 30-year-old windmill is in pieces. The Flevoland fire brigade arrived on site and cordoned off part of the site. Fortunately, the Eemmeerdijk remained free of debris and was able to remain open to traffic. The other wind turbines, of which there is a whole row, have been put in a safe position.

    The upper part of one of the windmills along the Eemmeerdijk near Zeewolde broke off. © AS Media/PMN

    Strong wind

    According to Geertjan Veenstra, spokesman for the Flevoland Security Region, the strong wind is probably the cause of the incident. “It’s right on top of the windmills”, meaning that the wind blows straight against the front. “The Vattenfall technical men, who own the wind turbines, are investigating the exact cause.”

    Tuesday evening already error

    The windmill was already stopped on Tuesday evening around 11 p.m. due to an error message. Vattenfall does not know what exactly that error message was related to. “This can be from a broken fuse to a part that needs to be replaced,” said the spokesperson.

    In the event of an error message, a windmill stops itself. The power company planned to send a technician yesterday. “But before we could do that, we already received a call from a farmer this morning that the windmill was on his pasture.”

    The energy company says that the latest inspections did not indicate any acute danger. The turbines in the wind farm in Zeewolde were installed in 1989, so they are a somewhat older model. The wind farm was already nominated by the energy company to be renewed next year. The model is not located in other places in the country. Vattenfall therefore sees no need to shut down more wind turbines as a precaution.

    Not the first time

    A windmill on the Eemmeerdijk has already collapsed. That happened in 2006. It was the first wind turbine in the Netherlands that could not withstand the strong wind. According to the Dutch ‘Weeronline’ it was also quite turbulent yesterday. Inland in the Netherlands there was a fairly strong to strong wind, with gusts of 60 to 70 kilometers per hour.

    The top of a windmill including the rotor has been destroyed.

    The top of a windmill including the rotor has been destroyed. © ANP

    The weather bureau cannot say how hard it has blown exactly in Zeewolde. “Measuring point Lelystad is the closest. There, the gusts of wind were less than expected last night and it became a bit more turbulent at the end of the morning with wind gusts of about 68 kilometers per hour. These are not very high or special values,” says meteorologist Matthijs van der Linden. “Last weekend we also had that in Flevoland.”

    Other windmills ‘not dangerous’

    According to Veenstra of the Flevoland Security Region, the other windmills along the Eemmeerdijk do not pose a threat. “If one plane crashes, it doesn’t mean all planes crash. We are now discussing how to get rid of the mill”, it sounded later yesterday. “At the moment the wind is too strong to do that safely,” he added.

    Parts of the fallen windmill near Zeewolde.

    Parts of the fallen windmill near Zeewolde. © Fire Brigade Flevoland

    The fallen windmill next to the Eemmeerdijk near Zeewolde.

    The fallen windmill next to the Eemmeerdijk near Zeewolde. © AS Media

    LOOK. Last week, a huge pillar fell from a windmill of a transport in the Netherlands. The colossus blocked a highway junction near the Dutch town of Apeldoorn