Craft of the miller operating windmills and watermills
Inscribed in 2017 (12.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
The craft of the miller operating windmills and watermills involves the knowledge and skills necessary to operate a mill and maintain it in a good state of repair. With a declining number of people earning their livelihood from the craft, millers today also play a key role in transmitting the cultural history of the practice. There are currently approximately forty professional millers; together with volunteers, they keep the miller’s craft alive. The Guild of Volunteer Millers has around 105 instructors in the field, and 11 Master Millers are now active in the Netherlands. Mills, and therefore the miller’s craft, play a significant social and cultural role in Dutch society and have an iconic value, contributing to a sense of identity and continuity. Various safeguarding activities are undertaken, including training, support and capacity building, educational activities in schools and traineeships. Traditionally, the miller’s craft was transmitted from master to apprentice but since the establishment of the Guild of Volunteer Millers in 1972, almost 2000 volunteers have obtained a miller’s qualification; anyone interested in the craft can apply for training. The Guild offers millers support in keeping their knowledge up-to-date, for example through excursions to mills, evening theory classes, conferences and meetings.