The windmill was built in 1996 and is a 3/4 size replica of the Zeldenrust Molen which stands in Groningen in Holland. The copy windmill was named De Willem as this is a name that is carried by four generations of the Verhoogt family. Originally the Verhoogt family wanted to put up a neon sign with a windmill design to make our bakery more visible, once we received quotes, it was decided to rather look at putting up a real windmill and use it for offices.
This concept grew to be a pancake house and coffee shop as we realised that a lot of customers come from far and would appreciate somewhere to eat and drink a cup of coffee before returning home.
A book was bought in Holland describing the restoration of the Zeldenrust. This book also contained detailed drawings of the actual original drawings for this windmill. All the wood for our windmill De Willem was sourced and brought up from Cape Town, as far as possible the same wood was used as in the Zeldenrust. The building and construction methods were copied from the book by Mr Van Den Boogaard, a retired carpenter from Cape Town who, with the help of Mr Jos Weerdenburg, also from Cape Town, and a helper, built the windmill in just under 6 months.
We would have liked to have built this windmill to full scale but due to space constraints and the existing building that we had to join this windmill to, we only built it 3/4 size. This meant that we were not able to allow the head of the windmill to turn so that we could turn the vanes into the wind. It also meant that we had to put in a motor with a gearbox to turn the vanes.
We try to turn the vanes as often as possible but if the wind is too strong then we have to stop it and tie it down. If people are sitting on the balcony, the vanes are not allowed to turn as the end of the vanes miss the tables outside by just 30cm and customers could be hit on the head by the vanes. In Dutch, they have a saying that if you are crazy, you have had "Een klap van de Molen", a bump on your head from the vane of the windmill.
The inside of the mill is furnished with typical Dutch items and we have also displayed photos of the construction of the windmill. In the bakery downstairs near the tills, we have a complete collage of the construction of the windmill.
Inside the windmill, we have 7 tables of 4 people, in the side section we can seat 3 tables of 8, in the covered smoking section we can seat 4 tables of 4 people and round the balcony we have 5 tables of 6 people.
In the near future, we are trying to open a small seating area on street level for customers who cannot climb the stairs .
We serve a variety of pancakes, both sweet and savoury, breakfasts, toasted sandwiches, Dutch pea soup, Dutch traditional meals and a selection of De Backery pies and other items, as well as Douwe Egberts coffee, tea and colddrinks.
De Molen is a member of Rasa (Restaurant Association of South Africa) and Fedhasa (Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa).
Travelling on the R24 towards Johannesburg (southwest), take the exit towards Edenvale Road. Turn right onto Edenvale Road. Continue onto Van Riebeek Street and the destination will be on your right.