Get the Flash Player to see this player.
Schiedam has the largest windmills in the world. In the heyday of the city’s jenever history in the 19th century around twenty windmills could be found in the city. These ground grains for the malt wine distillers and for the city’s bakers. There are only six windmills left in the city and these are the largest in the world.
City on water
Schiedam is a historical city on water. The city centre offers many possibilities for a true voyage of discovery. A city walk will take you past the ports, the largest windmills in the world, distilleries and malt houses. But you can also take a trip on a fluisterboot (silent boat), and there are many docking areas for leisure boats. The inland port used to serve the city’s shipping industry. It was here that the zakkendragers (sack carriers) used to unload the grain for the jenever industry in the Lange Haven. The river Schie winds its way right through the heart of the historical city centre and the city lies on the Maas Boulevard.
The city’s story
The monuments and museums of Schiedam tell the city’s story. For example, a clock hangs in the tower of the Zakkendragershuisje (sack carrier’s house, 1725) on the Oude Sluis which used to signal to the sack carriers that a ship with grain or other cargo was loading or unloading. From the 15th century till far into the 20th century this building used to serve as a guild house for the ‘Dragers of Sint Anthonisgilde’ (carriers of Saint Anthonis guild). The oldest place in Schiedam is the Ruïne Huis in Riviere, situated next to the new building complex on the Stadserf. The Huis te Riviere (1260) used to form the core of the city in the Middle Ages. They are the remains of the heavy brick tower of the Mathenesse Castle. This castle belonged to lady Aleida, the founder of Schiedam.
Relive times gone by in the small grocer’s shop of the Nationaal Coöperatie Museum (National Co-operative Museum) and in the Jenevermuseum (jenever museum), where one can sample a nip of an old jenever or corn spirit. In the windmill museum De Nieuwe Palmboom you can see a miller at work and the milling history of the city brought to life through the exhibitions. Dutch modern and contemporary art post 1945 have centre place in the exhibitions of the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam. This museum is situated in the restored Sint Jacob Gasthuis and displays a rich core collection of more than 250 CoBrA works.
Two ladies played an important role in the history of Schiedam. The city’s story begins with the story of Aleide van Avesnes (Aleida). After the death of her husband Jan van Avesnes she acquired a plot of land named the Nuwer Scie settlement. Evidence shows that this small settlement on the dam of the river Schie must have been formed before 1250. The settlement made rapid economic growth partly due to it being the most important shipping route in Holland. In 1270 Aleida gave permission for a weekly market to take place. She granted the settlement city status around 1275 and established the first church in Schiedam (1262).
Another important lady in Schiedam’s history is Saint Liduina, the only North-Dutch female Saint. After falling on ice in February 1396 or 1397 Liduina broke a rib and later developed an abscess which did not heal. She was confined to bed for the rest of her life. From the confinement of her sickbed she would offer solace to the poor and needy who came from near and far. Liduina had visions and during these raptures would visit the Holy Land, heaven, hell and purgatory with her guardian angel Rome. It was during one of these visits to paradise that the guardian angel gave her a rose stem. Liduina would only die if the rose was in bloom. On Tuesday the 14th of April 1433 Liduina passed away. The relics are kept in the Liduina Basiliek (Liduina Basilica).
The beatification of Liduina was recognised and approved by Pope Leo XIII. Liduina is the patroness of the ill, patron saint of ice skaters and of the city of Schiedam and its parish. The annual celebration of the festival of Liduina is held on the second Sunday after Easter.
Source: Municipality archive Schiedam and municipality Schiedam