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De Bolwerksmolen, the Stronghold Sawmill of Deventer

De Bolwerksmolen in Deventer

The greenery and flatness of Dutch lowlands, broken only by the bright, lively colors of tulips and the height of the towering windmills, attract people from all over the globe, to come, see, admire and take in the gentle beauty of the Netherlands’ countryside.

Following the biking mill route in the province of Overijssel, or taking a stroll on the riverbank of the city of Deventer, you may run across a 150-year-old windmill called Bolwerksmolen by the locals, a beautiful, wooden landmark on the bank of the Ijseel River.


De Bolwerksmolen was built in 1863 by two brothers, Abraham and Frank Elfrink.  They were timber merchants, and, as the area on the Ijssel riverbank was rich in timber, they asked for, and eventually got, a permission from the Deventer community to build the sawmill on the stronghold. The energy that this windmill produced was used for sawing woods.

The mill was later named after its location; its name stems from the noun “Bolwerk” standing for bastion, stronghold and “molen” which means a mill. Over its history, the windmill has been damaged multiple times by natural disasters such as storm in 1955 and human negligence such as seizure in 1967.

Fortunately, this extraordinary piece of Deventer’s superb craftsmanship has been saved by two restorations that took place in 1974 and 2007, and returned the mill to its original shape. Today this remarkable wind-powered mill has been turned into a museum.

Everything but Run-of-the-Mill

During the summer months, De Bolwerksmolen offers many attractions to anyone who happens to visit the town of Deventer.  On May 2, each year, the mill opens its door to visitors, celebrating the “National Mills Day”. This annual festivity, with its rich decorations and exciting activities, announces the opening of the summer season for De Bolwerksmolen.

The program includes educational activities and workshops, plays, presentations, and other activities, among which are traditional timber harvesting and sawing preparations. In addition, in the nearness of the mill, you can find various restaurants and cafés, perfect for some coffee and tasteful meal.

Going to the Mill

Located on Bolwerksweg 6, running over the banks of Bolwersplas, a branch of the Ijssel River, the mill towers the beautiful prospect of land lying on the opposite side of the Deventer city center.  Strolling by the river, one can take a foot-passenger ferry that can take them across the river to this beautiful area consisting of parks Het Worpplantsoen and the Ossenwaard and green meadows overlook by the authentic Dutch windmill.

Another way to explore this area is by going on a carefree cycle tour, the route of which passes by De Bolwerksmolen.  The peace and quiet of bike ride gives one opportunity to revel in the idyllic scenery and a romantic vista, with the mill in the background as the beacon of life going around the place.

Pictures of the Mill

Bolwerksmolen Deventer - Dark and birds

Bolwerksmolen Deventer - with water

Bolwerksmolen Deventer

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