Tunnel vision: the lift that transports the technicians to a hight of about 90 meters in the windmill is suspended on these narrow steel ropes. (Source: Wolfgang Weitzdörfer)

Fantastic trip on a windmill


It’s a little like making a trip underground - into the fantasy world of Alice in Wonderland. This is because the narrow car of the gondola does not move downwards, underground.

On the contrary, it ascends, for 90 m, to be precise. It goes up to the technical control centre of an Enercon E-82 windmill in the middle of the charming scenery of Bergisches Land.

90 meters ascent

Nothing can be seen of the barrages and wide green meadows once you get into the interior of the gondola, which is more cramped than spacious as a result of its window front. The ascent is 90 m, the lift jolting as it begins to move, swaying slightly and only a torch illuminates the surroundings a little. You can see the rungs of the ladder attached to the outer wall of the slender tower for emergencies - i.e. the breakdown of the lift.

HandwerkBut at some point, only three minutes have passed, the journey is over. This is because after 90 m the time comes when the shaft is just too narrow to travel further to the "heart” of a modern windmill. The technical control centre is at a height of 106.4 m.

As a result, it is necessary to ascend the last almost 17 m using the ladder, which had been so reassuringly far away in the light of torch. Well-secured, of course, but naturally still with butterflies in the stomach.

Feeling humble

Of course, for the technicians who have to make the trip up at least as four times a year and then as needed, for example if there are technical problems, this is routine. However, those making a rare visit certainly feel humble. Especially if you can kick the windmill’s cupola. Each of the almost 39 m long rotor blades that transform wind into electricity, weighing a total of 21 tons, is attached there at a height of 149 m.

From underneath the oval cupola looks like an egg. And from there you above all have an unbelievable view of the surroundings. Everything appears tiny and peaceful, putting things in the right perspective, yes, making you humble. Alice crosses your mind later again – when it’s time to descend. Only then do you catch yourself not wanting to get your feet back on the ground.

Wolfgang Weitzdörfer

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