In the south of the Lüneburg Heath there is a unique treasure: the International Wind and Water Mill Museum with specimens from all over the world, miniatures and a bakehouse where bread and cakes are still made by hand. 150,000 square meters to marvel at and feast on.

In the middle of Gifhorn in Lower Saxony, on a large hill, stands a replica of a Scottish mill. When its wings turn, insiders know that a couple has just said "I do". Behind the mill's spotless white facade is the civil wedding room. But the Wedding Mill is just one of many special mills in the beautiful county seat.

Right at the entrance to the open-air museum, you will be greeted by the over 150-year-old Kellerholländermühle, the start of a small journey through time and the world on foot. You will pass by the Provence mill built of fieldstones and framed by juniper and lavender. The grist mills from Mallorca, Greece and Portugal also exude a southern flair.

A visual contrast: the mills from Korea, Taiwan and Ukraine surrounded by woods, meadows and water. Another eye-catcher is the 18th-century replica of the Potsdam mill from Sanssouci Palace, which towers into the sky.

Historical background desired? Then head for the large exhibition hall. In the centerpiece of the idyllically designed facility, you can learn a lot about the development of milling. In addition, there are dozens of small-scale models garnished with exciting information - whether it's the "Moulin de la Galette" from Montmartre in Paris or "La Mancha" from Spain, against whose wings Don Quixote is said to have fought in vain. After so much information, it's time for refreshment in the Niedersachsenhaus - with crispy stone-baked slices and fresh crumble cake.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Mikhail Gorbachev is patron of the impressive Bell Palace © Südheide Gifhorn GmbH/Frank Bierstedt

Besides the 14 full-size mills and the specimens en miniature, by the way, there are other imposing buildings around the museum. Like the Russian Orthodox wooden church with gilded domes or the Bell Palace with the European Liberty Bell - as a memorial to the division of Germany and the fall of the Iron Curtain. After all, Gifhorn was once a geographical border area.

The special tipIn the vacation region Südheide Gifhorn not only the wheels of the mills turn. Thanks to the well-developed network of bike paths, the varied landscape with heaths, moors, lakes and rivers can also be wonderfully discovered by bike.

Cover photo: The Kellerholländer mill dates from 1848 and is so called because the carts could enter below © Südheide Gifhorn GmbH/Frank Bierstedt