History

History

The surrounding area of Ensenada has a fascinating history, and has over the centuries withstood storms, floods and occupation. Around 1583, the population crossed the dykes, to halt the advance of the Spanish occupying army. Large swaths of what is now Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, were submerged and flooded. The original village of Schoondijke was wiped off the map. The only remaining features are mud flats, ditches and salt marshes. Even Ensenada's millpond is a reminder of the battle that the locals waged against the enemy and the sea. The Willemspolder was created around 1650. Here, at the intersection of various roads, the dyke workers founder a village: Willemsdorp. The name was changed into Schoondijke to pay homage to the original village, flooded in the Middle Ages. The windmill was built shortly after the reclamation and impoldering. In 1854, Robert's ancestors, the De Hulster family, acquired ownership of the windmill.

During the Second World War, the family operated the windmill as a safe house for the resistance movement. A Canadian and American pilot used both the windmill and ancillary buildings. The Molenberg hill was also used to hide villagers, and to protect them from bombardment. Towards the end of the war, the resistance fighters risked their lives to pass on crucial information to the advancing Allied soldiers. This was done in person or by sending coded messages by repositioning the windmill’s arms. 18-year-old Francijntje De Hulster, Robert's mother, took the pilots under her wing. Armed with her First Aid knowledge, she travelled on foot, across the fields, to the fishing village after the devastating bombardment on the Breskens area on 11 September 1944. After the war, US president Eisenhower officially honoured the De Hulster family.

The windmill remained in use until 1963. It was fully renovated in 1994 in partnership with Monumentenzorg, the Netherlands Department for Conservation. Tine and Robert started working on their guesthouse in 2005. In May 2009, the project was complete...they had finally turned their dream into a reality.

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