Boat Mills in Ginsheim

In Ginsheim, boat mills are a tradition. Up to 21 mills were operated on the river at the same time. They used to be situated in the old Rhine arm, but during the nineteenth century they were pulled into the main pass of the river. From then on, grain and finished products had to be moved back and forth between the mills and the town in row boats, which was an arduous process.

The steady increase of shipping traffic caused additional problems for the boat mills. The mills occupied the spots on the river where the currents were best suited for ships travelling downstream. The ships also posed a direct threat to the mills, since waves created by paddle steamers sometimes caused mills to collide, jam and then sink.

Notably, the last boat mill on the entire Rhine was operated in Ginsheim until 1928. The mill was pulled into the harbour of Mainz in the 1930s since there were already plans to convert it into a mill museum. Unfortunately, this last Rhine boat mill was struck by bombs in 1945 and irrevocably destroyed.

The reconstruction demonstrates how exhausting milling used to be, and also showcases how our ancestors, through the use of logic and simple means, arrived at astonishing solutions.