Kinderdijk is the name of a town in the province of South-Holland. Two rivers, the ‘Noord’ and the ‘Lek’ come together here. Nowhere in the world you can find so many windmills together. The mills pump the overflow of water out of the Alblasserwaard polders (which are below sea level), into the river Lek. River the ‘Lek’ is connected to the North Sea.
Around 1740 nineteen strong windmills have been build here to protect the area from water. At the west side 8 brick windmills were build in 1738, at the east side also 8 eight-squared windmills were build in 1740. In 1521 the oldest type of windmill (so called wip-mill) was already placed. It burned down in 1997 and was re-built and operational since 2000. To complete the amount of 19 mills you can also find 2 thatched roofed windmills.
Although the windmills were used to pump the water out of the polder into the river Lek, they also generate electricity with wind power. Kinderdijk was the first town in the Netherlands with electricity in 1886.
Nowadays pumping station have taken over the job of the windmills and make sure the polder doesn’t get flooded. A foundation is taking care of the restauration and maintenance of the windmills. In 1997 the windmills of Kinderdijk have been placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The official text is:
“The outstanding contribution made by the people of the Netherlands to the technology of handling water is admirably demonstrated by the installations in the Kinderdijk-Elshout area. Construction of hydraulic works for the drainage of land for agriculture and settlement began in the Middle Ages and have continued uninterruptedly to the present day. The site illustrates all the typical features associated with this technology – dykes, reservoirs, pumping stations, administrative buildings and a series of beautifully preserved windmills”.
How to get there?
By car: set navigation for ‘Nederwaard 1 / Kinderdijk’.
– from Amsterdam > train to Utrecht CS > bus 90 to Rotterdam [2 hours]
– from Rotterdam Lombardijen > bus 190 (direction Streefkerk) [45 minutes]
– from Rotterdam Erasmusbrug > ferry 20 (stop De Schans, Ridderkerk) > ferry 6 (stop Kinderdijk) [50 minutes]
What to do at Kinderdijk?
– take a walk or ride a bicycle along the windmills [free, open 24 hours. Bicycle rent €12,50 per day]
– visit inside a windmill [€8,- from April to the end of October, daily from 09:30am to 5:30pm, Off season, every weekend from 11am to 4pm.]
– visit pumping station [€8,- from April to the end of October, daily from 09:30am to 5:30pm, Off season, every weekend from 10:30am to 4pm.]
– canal cruise [€4,50 from April 1st until October 1st, 30 minutes. First cruise is at 10am and the last one leaves at 5pm.]
– ice skating (cold winters only! Check with locals).
Or create a private tour including a visit of Kinderdijk with your private guide. www.hollandprivatetour.com