Kinderdijk Windmills – Unesco World Heritage Site
Kinderdijk is a small country village near the hustle and bustle of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. It is located in the Alblasserwaard polder in the province of Zuid-Holland. Kinderdijk lies at the confluence of the rivers Lek and Noord. Over the centuries the Alblasserwaard has always had problems with flooding. People dug out large canals in the 13th century to try and drain water from the polders. Many hundreds of years later an additional drainage system was invented. In 1740 they started building nineteen Kinderdijk windmills in Holland, all of them serving as pumps to pump water in and out of large reservoirs. Only a couple of those windmills are still in use, as most of the pumping work has now been taken over by powerful diesel pumps. All nineteen Kinderdijk windmills and the surrounding canals and polders are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Weather and Landscapes
I visited Kinderdijk in the early spring of this year, right before the tourist season began. The weather was wonderful though, and there were lots of people about, walking around, cycling and even kayaking. It’s completely free to walk along the canals and past the windmills, but you may have to pay a small fee to park your car. One of the windmills is a museum – the Museummolen – and you can go inside and take a look around. The steam-powered pumping station – Wisboomgemaal – has a visitor centre and can also be visited. You can purchase tickets to both attractions for only six euro. I would highly recommend taking your time when walking around the Kinderdijk windmills. The landscapes are peaceful and there’s no rush. A full afternoon would be a good amount of time to enjoy the views of those historic Kinderdijk windmills against a backdrop of meadows, polders and canals. That right there is a landscape that you can only find in the Netherlands. To fully enjoy the place, staying there for a couple of nights might be your best option.
Getting In and Around
Kinderdijk itself is a rural village and getting there by public transport can be tricky. Your best option would be to travel to the Rotterdam Lombardijen train station and take a bus from there on. Bus 90 runs between Rotterdam and Utrecht and stops in Kinderdijk every hour. The most convenient way of getting there is by car rental. The Dutch network of highways is excellent, but you should still make sure not to hit the Rotterdam area around rush hour. The suggested way of getting around is by renting a bicycle, the favourite method of transportation of the Dutch. The lovely Kinderdijk windmills in Holland are a pretty sight and in summer you can explore the area on a boat tour through the canals.
I had an absolute blast when I was there and I was glad I didn’t wait to visit until it was summer. The crowds must be overwhelming then. After visiting once, I now feel the urge to go back and see the Kinderdijk windmills again; it was fantastic. Maybe next time I’ll go back in winter, when the canals are frozen, the air is crisp and the landscape looks like straight out of a painting by one of the old Dutch Masters.