In 1881, on the way home to Etten from The Hague, Vincent stopped in Dordrecht. He had seen a row of windmills from the train and wanted to draw them. He braved the rainy Weeskinderendijk and drew the mill-dotted landscape around the dyke. In his own words,
He later developed the drawing into a watercolour in Etten. Windmills at Dordrecht comprises part of the collection of the Kröller-Müller Museum today. The two mills at the right of the drawing are Vincent’s inventions; there were no mills in that spot at the time.
Vincent remembered the Weeskinderendijk from when he lived in Dordrecht in 1877 and would sometimes walk along the dyke. In February of that year, he wrote to his brother Theo:
Walking along the dyke, he would recall how he had walked with his brother and father in Zundert.