The hills of the Hunsrück and the Pfalz block the Atlantic westerlies, leaving us with 180 virtually wind-still days a year.
Up until the Industrial Revolution, the key source of power was water and you’ll still find traces of the mills that were strung along the Selz Valley just outside Mainz,
But no-one told Monsieur Andre, a French civil servant in the early 19th century.
He reckoned that windmills were the coming thing and tried to drum up support (in the form of donations) from the local populace to realise his dream.
Not sure whether it was the general tightfistedness of the locals or the fact that they knew that M. André was flogging a dead horse, but he only rounded up enough to build one on the Zitadelle.
Which is quite appropriate, really, because the military was the biggest user of wind power at the time, cranking up wind-powered mills to grind corn during sieges.
The original’s long gone, of course, and what you see these days above the Windmühlenstrasse (Windmill Road) is a pretty flash slide for kiddies on their playground