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Captain Zeppos -- Museum at the Mill

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The television programme Kapitein Zeppos is © VRT. Adventurer makes no attempt to assume or supercede copyright. Copyright remains with the copyright holders.

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Museum at the Mill Pages:

The Museum

Mill History

The Restoration

The Windmill at Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-Lombeek, before restorationTowards the end of the 20th Century, the long-term future of the Hertboom Mill was in the balance. The windmill had been allowed to fall into a state of disrepair (see photograph, left) and only extensive and costly repair and renewal works were likely to guarantee its continued existence. Fortunately, it found a saviour in the form of Jozef Van Waeyenberge, who purchased the mill and cottage at public auction in 1999. The new owner was determined to ensure the preservation of the Hertboom Mill and instigated a programme of restoration which was designed return the mill to full operational status. Without this vital undertaking, there is little doubt that the Hertboom Mill would, like the Kreikensmill formerly in nearby Pamel, eventually collapse and vanish from the skyline of Pajottenland. Instead, today it stands proud, a national treasure that has been saved for future generations to experience for many years yet to come.

The restoration process began in 1999, with an extensive study of local archives and the Hertboom estate to determine the scale, nature and detail of the work needed. Despite its increasingly dilapidated state, the windmill had been listed as a monument of national heritage by the Royal Commission of Monuments and Landscapes since 1944. The institution would be involved throughout the restoration work in a consultative capacity. Another organisation to become involved were Monument Watch, who arrived to inspect the site prior to restoration. They compiled an inventory in minute detail of the components of the mill and the layout of the estate. This was a vital part of the pre-planning for the works and went hand in hand with exhaustive stock-taking, description, photography and video recording of the mill site and buildings. This continued as the mill was taken down, to record each and every piece that went into its construction.

Ultimately, the windmill was completely dismantled in 2001, its constituent parts being packed up and sent to the workshop of Robert Wieme. At the workshop, re-usable parts were renovated and lovingly crafted replacements for rotted components were made with reference to drawings and information unearthed during the archival investigations of 1999.

In addition to the restoration work carried out on the mill components, the foundation mound upon which the windmill stood was also rebuilt and strengthened to guard against subsidence.

Reconstruction of the windmill started in 2001 and continued deep into the following year. The job was long and painstaking, working from the notes, photographs, video footage and other research that had been made in the run up to the dismantlement. Interested parties from all over the world were able to watch the restoration works in progress via the windmill's website, www.windmolen.be, which offered video streams from four webcams set up at various locations on the estate. The three years of hard work to return the Hertboom Mill to its former glory were most definitely worthwhile and the project managers were delighted to be able to re-open the windmill on Sunday 1st December 2002, when they hosted a suitably festive celebration. Senne Rouffaer, 'Captain Zeppos', was one of the dignitaries who attended the opening ceremony. The mill is now fully operational and has been augmented with a fascinating museum and a brasserie supplying food, drink and a warm welcome to visitors. Once again, the Hertboom Mill stands proud on the skyline of Pajottenland, the unfortunate neglect of recent years a swiftly receding memory.

The Hertboom Mill today

With grateful thanks to the Hertboom Mill Museum
and www.windmolen.be

For other pages in this section, please use the links at the top of the page.