How to Help
The Danish Windmill is a non-profit organization responsible for running and maintaining the historic Danish Windmill. In addition to the constant cost of maintenance and upkeep, we also provide jobs for several local residents and serve as a welcome center for the state of Iowa. Please help support our organization so that people may enjoy Iowa’s Danish Windmill for years to come.
Gifts of Grains
Please donate a portion of your grain to help "Keep the Mill Turning"
Danish Windmill Foundation
The Danish Windmill Foundation Endowed Fund is a permanently endowed fund administered by the Omaha Community Foundation. Gifts to the fund support the Programs and Maintenance of the Historic 1848 Danish Windmill.
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Keep the Mill Turning
One hundred sixty two years ago millwrights in Nørre Snede Denmark put the finishing touches on a 60-foot Danish Windmill. By all accounts, the Nørre Snede Mill was not remarkable in any noticeable way from any of the previous mills these craftsmen had been commissioned to build, nor did it differ in any real way from the ones that would follow. Certainly, as the final shingles were laid, as the brake wheel was released, its shutters adjusted and its sails allowed to turn for the first time in the prevailing westerly winds that sweep over the rolling hills of Denmark, these men were without knowledge of the amazing story they had just set turning into motion.
Two World Wars, a massive fire and a trip across the Atlantic; no one would have thought in 1848 that this windmill would have such a story to tell. None would have guessed that this mill would be swept up in one man’s impossible dream and one community’s amazing undertaking to make that dream a reality.
35 years have passed since the Windmill in Nørre Snede, Denmark became the Windmill in Elk Horn, Iowa. During this time the Danish Windmill has matured from Harvey Sornson’s impossible dream into the centerpiece that attracts over 60,000 tourists a year and showcases the pride our community has for its rich Danish heritage.
Since the Mill’s arrival in our community, the Danish Windmill Museum, a non-profit organization, has been tasked with taking the steps necessary to ensure the Mill’s welfare. In addition to providing employment to area residents and serving as a Welcome Center for the State of Iowa, The Windmill Museum has headed up a number of projects to maintain and improve the Windmill. Some of these projects include the construction of a new cap frame and replacement of all the mill gears, the recent construction of the VikingHjem on the Mill’s grounds, and the installation of the first electric vehicle charging station in the area.
The Windmill Museum is focusing its efforts on several other projects we feel will maintain the health of the mill and greatly improve its tourist appeal. A few of these projects include the painting of the sail stocks and shutters, installation of a working set of grinding stones, the completion of the Interpretation Path connecting the Windmill to the VikingHjem, much needed renovation to the Mill's sack hoist, the construction of a band shell and public restrooms, as well as expanded museum exhibits showcasing windmill technology and history.
However, the most important project the Windmill Museum has undertaken is the establishment of a Windmill Endowment. With the creation of this endowment fund, supporters of the Mill can give a gift whose impact far exceeds the initial amount gifted. By investing the principal donation to the endowment fund and only spending a percentage of the interest earned, endowed giving creates a perpetual fund to be used for future operating expenses and to fund future projects; in addition, donors receive tax benefits and a 25% State of Iowa tax credit. There has never been a time when philanthropic support was more needed or could be felt as strongly as today.
As a wholly unique attraction and an irreplaceable part of our culture and community it is vital that we take the necessary steps to ensure the Windmill’s continued story. When you support the Danish Windmill Endowment you will be standing as part of a community-wide effort to keep our Danish Villages a great place to live. Help us grow an Endowment that will guarantee economic security for the Windmill and a legacy for our entire community.