The windmills in Kinderdijk, the Netherlands, make up a unique landscape in the world. Nowhere else on the planet can you find a concentration of old windmills this dense, which is also set in a landscape that couldn’t possibly be more Dutch: flat green meadows, a spider web of canals, locks and dikes, and tiny villages. And on top of that, it is located pretty much next to Rotterdam, the second city in the Netherlands, which makes getting there ridiculously easy.
Visiting Kinderdijk Year Round
It’s a spectacular destination—an absolute must-see when visiting Western Europe, I’d say—and what’s so great about it is that the site is open all-year round. You can visit Kinderdijk every season. A couple of windmills are opened to the public as working museums, while the modern pumping stations are a main attraction as well. Additionally, the entire area is crisscrossed by walking paths and bicycle routes, which add to the “Dutchness” of the landscape even more. Those walking and cycling paths are free to visit all the time; the museum windmills and a couple of other attractions can be visited by purchasing an entry ticket.
The revenue from those tickets goes to maintaining the nineteen windmills in Kinderdijk, which were declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. This world-heritage status requires that the windmills are preserved precisely as they are, which is a costly thing to do. So, when you visit Kinderdijk, you are encouraged to purchase an entry ticket. It’s not all that expensive—it grants access to two working windmills, which are absolutely recommended visiting—and will keep preserve this gorgeous area.
While Kinderdijk is open all-year round, it is the winter season that is the most magical time of year to visit. Especially after a night of frost, the landscape of windmills, canals and meadows is stunning. A tiny layer of ice covers the waters, carpets the grass and polishes the windmills, making it look like a picture that could have been painted by Breughel. The other seasons are wonderful, too, of course, but none of them can be beat winter!