Wood sawmill De Rat in IJlst
Sneekerpad IJlst IJlst -plan route

On the banks of the Geeuw, the ancient waterway linking IJlst and Sneek, stands the unique sawmill De Rat, which is still in full operation. Logs lying in the water, the sound of the turning sails, the pounding of the up and down sawing frames, the smell of freshly sawed wood; here you can still experience the woodcutting craft as it has been practiced in De Rat every day for over three centuries.
At De Rat we mainly saw larch, pine, elm, beech and ash.

Originally the sawmill was located in the Zaan region, where De Rat was built in 1711 as a beam sawmill. Due to the Fourth English War and the French Period, overseas trade had declined sharply between 1780 and 1815, and with it shipbuilding. This unfavorable situation naturally affected sawmills as well. Many were sold, scrapped or moved to another part of the country. It is even written about the Rat that it was in desolate condition. It was in 1828, that Mr. Ringnalda, merchant and mayor of IJlst, decided, together with the miller Hessel Vellinga, to purchase De Rat and have it moved to IJlst. He saw opportunities for the mill in Friesland, which was less affected by the economic downturn. The mill was taken apart as a kit and rebuilt in IJlst. Around 1850, the Oppedijk company, which already owned the "old mill" in IJlst, took over De Rat. For over two hundred years people sawed on wind power, before technical progress also affected De Rat. Cap and sails were removed and from 1918 an electric motor provided the drive! Until 1950, De Rat saw beams and planks for the Oppedijk company. In 1955 the firm Oppedijk applied for a demolition permit, but fortunately the municipality of IJlst took care of the mill and made sure that De Rat had its cap and sails back in 1967. It would take until 1977 before the Rat could once again saw to the wind.