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Schweindorf, Germany

Westerholt E-66 Observation Wind Turbine

Giant wind turbine with observation deck at the very top. 

The Westerholt E-66 Observation Wind Turbine is one of more than 40 Enercon E-66 turbines in the Holtriem Wind Park, but it’s a special one: At the top of the turbine, just below where the rotor connects to the peak of the base where the generator sits, is an observation deck, accessible by a long spiral staircase that makes its way up from the ground.

Built in 1998, Holtriem Wind Park is one of the largest European windfarms. And it has been growing slowly ever since. It’s an impressive site, even from the ground. But it’s made more impressive if you can see it from the top of one of the turbines, with a giant blade rotating past your line of sight every couple of seconds.

At 63 meters, the observation deck (and this is actually the second observation deck on this turbine; the first having been completed replaced when it needed to be expanded) on this turbine is really up there. And it takes a while to access; there are 297 stairs between top and bottom, but there are several circular platforms on the way up where visitors can rest for a minute.

Be advised that climbing the stairs on this wind turbine can be both exhausting and frightening. The turbine is made to sway a bit in the wind so as to avoid damaging the structure; inside, though, that swaying motion can be more than some people anticipate.