News of: Monday, March 04 2013,
The Water Board Amstel, Gooi en Vecht (which contains Amsterdam) has announed an agreement with 14 windmill owners, to help regulating the water level in the polders in and around Amsterdam.
Water boards are governmenteal bodies set up in the Netherlands to keep the water behind the dikes. See also the website of Amstel, Gooi en Vecht (English page).
The old windmills were originally used to mill water away to create new land, and with the agreement they regain this function.
There are still about 1,100 windmills left in the Netherlands. Windmills are one of the most typical tourist attractions in the country.
One of the reasons for the agreement is saving energy, and increasing water pumping capacity. Nowadays, the water regulating function of windmills has been taken over by electrical pumps. The 14 windmills can help reduce the energy cost.
Another reason is that windmills that don't do anything, deteriorate. By carrying out their oringal function, they can remain in good repair.
A third reason is fish conservation. The old windmills are more fish-friendly, particularly for eels.
Three of the 14 windmills concerned are located in Amsterdam, and one of them can be visited. This is the Sloten Windmill, located in the west part of Amsterdam.