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The Weeskinderendijk still exists, but the windmills that were there in Vincent’s time have disappeared over the years.

Van Gogh in


  1. 4 Feb. 1877 1877
  2. 8 Mrt. 1877 1877
  3. 25 Aug. 1881 1881

In 1877, on his way home to Etten from The Hague, Vincent stopped in Dordrecht. He had seen a row of windmills from the train and wanted to draw them. He braved the rainy Weeskinderendijk and sketched the mill-dotted landscape around the dyke. In his own words,

“at least I’ve brought home a souvenir from my outing.” Read the complete letter

He later further developed the drawing into a watercolour in Etten. Windmills at Dordrecht is now kept in the collection of the Kröller-Müller Museum. The two mills at the right of the drawing are Vincent’s imaginary inventions; there were no mills in that spot at the time.

When Vincent moved to Dordrecht in 1877 he remembered the Weeskinderendijk and walked along the dyke from time to time. In February of 1881, he wrote to his brother Theo:

“but last Sunday when I was walking alone on that dyke, I thought how good that Dutch soil was, and I felt something akin to ‘today it is in mine heart to make a covenant with my God.” Read the complete letter

Walking along the dyke, he would recall how he had walked with his brother and father in Zundert.

Made here

Windmills at Dordrecht (Weeskinderendijk), 1881

Windmills at Dordrecht (Weeskinderendijk), 1881

Mixed media on paper, 25,7 x 59,8 cm

Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo

Windmill 'De Oranjeboom', 1881

Windmill 'De Oranjeboom', 1881

Mixed media on paper, 34,8 x 59,9 cm

Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo

    Relevant letters from Vincent

    Continue reading

    1. Teio Meedendorp

      Tekeningen en grafiek van Vincent van Gogh in de collectie van het Kröller-Müller Museum
      Otterlo, 2007, pp. 42-45
    2. M.J. Brusse

      Onder de menschen: Vincent van Gogh als boekverkoopersbediende I-III
      In: Nieuwe Rotterdamse Courant 31 mei 1914, 2 juni 1914, 4 juni 1914 (later opgenomen in Jo van Gogh-Bonger, Verzamelde brieven, 1973)
    3. E.H. Cossee

      Vincent van Gogh en kerkelijk Dordrecht
      In: Kwartaal & teken 6- 1 (1980), pp. 1-5
    4. Herinneringen van C. Görlitz

      Brief aan Frederik van Eeden, Nijmegen, 3 februari 1891
      (te raadplegen in: documentatiemap ‘Dordrecht’ in het Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam)
    5. Ad Molendijk

      Vincent van Gogh in Dordrecht
      In: Kwartaal & Teken 16-2 (1990), pp. 3-10