Station: [19] Stamp collection

Stamps from Finland, Iceland, Greece, Ukraine, Portugal...

... from the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Germany...

... all showing windmills and water mills in various shapes and sizes!

Take a look at the 80 pfennig stamp with the view of Kevelaer. It’s on your screen now – but can you find the original?. The town is a place of pilgrimage and, like Donsbrüggen, comes under the district of Kleve. On the left of the image, you can see the white Hermann Mill, a historic windmill built in 1865 but no longer operational. It’s a Dutch tower mill, easily identified by the conical shape of the brickwork body. The stamp also shows the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus holding an orb symbolising the world. It was issued to commemorate Pope John Paul the Second’s visit to Germany on the occasion of 17th Marian Congress in Kevelaer in 1987. The congress is an assembly of the Marian Congregations – Roman Catholic associations established by the Jesuit Father Jean Leunis in 1563 and confirmed by Pope Gregory the Thirteenth in 1584. 

To the right of that historic stamp, there’s an envelope with a postmark commemorating the 160th anniversary of our mill here at Donsbrüggen, dated the third of June 1984. 

And – have you discovered the stamp associated with a tale recounted in the famous novel by Miguel de Cervantes? When Don Quixote came upon some thirty or forty windmills, he said to his squire Sancho: 

"Fortune guides our steps better than we could possibly desire, for look there, friend Sancho Panza, where thirty or more monstrous giants await us, whom I shall challenge in battle until they have all breathed their last."

Sancho replied: 

"What giants??? What we see there are not giants, but windmills!"

So the stamp shows Don Quixote's hopeless battle against the windmills. Have you found it yet? Let me give you a hint – it’s from Monaco!

The tale of Don Quixote is the origin of the phrase "tilting at windmills", which describes a venture that is never going to succeed.

Photos: © Dagmar Trüpschuch und Förderkreis Alte Mühle Donsbrüggen