Claude Monet paid three visits to the Netherlands. During the first of these visits, in 1871, he spent four months in Zaandam with his wife and child. Monet painted the windmills at Westzijderveld from a boat. He recorded the silhouettes in an extremely direct style and used broad brushstrokes to suggest small waves on the water. The painting is a fine example of the looser, experimental style which Monet developed during the 1870s.