400 years,
1 lift

Often Royal Wagenborg is involved in transporting the most modern and advanced cargoes and objects. No matter whether it concerns the transport of a transformer from Germany to Sweden or the transport of a hydro hammer offshore, Royal Wagenborg always has a suitable solution for these types of challenges. Last year Royal Wagenborg was challenged to do something completely different. Instead of a modern piece of equipment, Wagenborg was asked to lift an ancient windmill from 1619.


The windmill of nearly 400 years old is a piece of cultural heritage and is not allowed to be changed or adjusted. Every damage made to the wind mill due to the lift, could have the greatest impact on the wind mill. That is why the lift had to be done in a way the chance of damage was as low as possible. The Wagenborg engineers came up with the plan to lift the wind mill in one piece and put it down as close as possible near the stand of the mill, which had to be restored.

By only removing 4 boards from the side of the mill Wagenborg engineers provided enough space to put in 2 beams of steel under the construction that carried the wind mill. The beams of steel could be used to lift the entire wind mill. Within the mill we asked a mill restoring company to apply a wooden auxiliary construction to prevent bending of the main structure. After preparing the wind mill for the lift, Wagenborg also had to prepare a temporary storage for the mill after the mill would have been lifted from its stand. As a solution Wagenborg used 4 20ft containers, twist locks and container beams to create an arrangement on which the mill would fit exactly without damaging the tail of the mill, which also serves as an entrance. The containers served as a solid foundation for the 30 tons wind mill.

Since we had determined, on the basis of old construction drawings, that the centre of gravity would not be in the middle of the mill but more on the side of the blades, we applied unequal lengths of slings to maintain the mill straight during the lift. Now everything was ready for the lift, the 130 tons mobile crane could come into action. Carefully the mill was lifted centimetre by centimetre from its stand and slowly moved onto the containers as its temporary foundation. The mill survived the whole operation completely undamaged. After restoring the stand, the mill was put back in its original position and the boards were put back on the sides. Nowadays no one is able to see this operation ever took place.