Our Story



History of De Molen 

First proposed to council in 1990, De Molen was completed and officially opened on 13th April 2003. 

Built to plans and specifications obtained from the Netherlands in 1988, it is a replica of a traditional 17th Century Dutch flour mill.

The million-dollar project was originally hatched in 1987 between two Dutch immigrants, who had settled in Foxton, Dirk van Til, and Jan (John) Langen.
Jan and Dirk found the Foxton landscape reminded them strongly of the Netherlands, flat land, lots of green grass and surrounded by water, there was always an abundance off wind.
The only thing missing was a windmill!!  
Dirk left for Australia before further plans were made.
​But Jan stayed in Foxton, determined to carry the dream through.

As the plan began to take shape and more like minded locals came on board, including the approval of Foxton Community Board and Horowhenua District Council, Jan had a small problem. How would this thing get built? And who in New Zealand knew how to build Dutch windmills.?
Jan had windmill plans, building consents, enthusiasm and was getting tons of support from locals plus kiwis and the dutch community far and wide.
Just no one to pull it all together 

One Saturday morning, in early 1997, there was a  knock on the door of Jan's home and a gentleman introduced himself as Cor Slobbe.
A Qualified Builder with a Clerk of works Certificate....Perfect!
Cor Slobbe, to say the least, was a master at his craft and agreed to be the Construction manager for the building of De Molen.
With Plans in hand Cor built 
a working model (10 ft tall) of the first plan of De Molen, in his spare time, in his garage at home. 

Jan and Cor had never met previously but lived just 10 miles apart.
The perfect management team was in place, supporters were lining up to help and the cogs could begin to turn.
Everyone volunteering their time when they could, Jan and Cor never took any payment.

​Building De Molen became a real community project with many Foxton people contributing.
Along with donations from around New Zealand and indeed the world, whether it be labour for building and painting or financial contributions all made the De Molen possible.
The Eastern and Central Community Trust contributed generously. 

​Apart from the running gear, millstones and sail stocks, which were made and installed by Vaags Molenwerkn of Aalten, the Netherlands, De Molen was built using NZ-grown timber, by mainly voluntary labour, and local builders under the direction  Cor Slobbe.  De Molen is equipped with the latest design in composite millstones as well as two new experimental wind blades.  

De Molen is a charitable trust owned by The Foxton Windmill Trust Inc with a volunteer board with both paid and volunteer staff.  All our efforts, including Cafe De Molen, are aimed at raising funds for the maintenance and upkeep of De Molen.
De Molen is open to the public as a monument to the welcoming New Zealand community and to all those Dutch Immigrants that came to New Zealand from the Netherlands after WWII.

Lets Build a Windmill.......