At the end of the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth century, there was a migration from the old villages such as Westzaan and Oostzaan to the banks of the Zaan river. The Zaan was enclosed with dikes, and new settlements such as Zaandijk, Wormerveer and De Koog sprang up. The new settlements by the Zaan had houses, farms and, very soon, windmills. These were not the traditional corn mills, but mills for rasping dye wood, sawing timber and extracting oil from seeds. From the start of the seventeenth century, the number of mills gradually increased to their maximum of 650 in 1730.
Around the middle of the seventeenth century, innovators succeeded in hulling barley with wind power in Zaandam. Barley was widely used as a foodstuff on ships, but barley porridge was also eaten by the common people, which quickly resulted in major sales. In the mid-nineteenth century, Albert Vis succeeded in shelling rice in a barley mill. This formed the basis for the later steam-powered rice shelling plants in the Zaanstreek.
A very high proportion of the world’s cocoa harvest is processed in the Zaanstreek. The cocoa industry has its roots in the oils industry. The job of the wind-powered oil mills was taken over by the steam-powered mills.
Towards the end of the 19th Century, H.B. Klinkenberg opened a forge on Breedweer in Koog aan de Zaan. As a manufacturing forge in an area that was known as "the larder of the Netherlands", it soon found renowned customers. Many companies came to know Klinkenberg as a reliable place for repairs to the driving gear of the grain and oil mills, which laid the foundations for many prospering businesses. The well-known company Honig once started as a firm with twenty oil mills. From this, the starch factory ‘De Bijenkorf’ later arose, today a subsidiary of Tate & Lyle. Honig Merkartikelen B.V. is also a subsidiary of another company now, Centrale Suiker Maatschappij. Cacao De Zaan and Teewis Duyvis Jansz (later known simply as Duyvis) soon came with requests for more than just repairs. Klinkenberg began specialising in screw conveyors.
After over a hundred years, Klinkenberg Zaanstad BV is a well-known company for bulk transport. The old barn on Breedweer also proved too small eventually to cope with the growing demand for screw conveyors. Klinkenberg moved to Krommenie. However, development did not stop there. With its own sales, engineering and production departments, business bureau and hi-tech equipment, Klinkenberg can respond quickly to the customer’s requirement.