Thursday, July 8, 2010

Worldheritage Kinderdijk windmills

Last weekend I had the chance to visit the Worldheritage site Kinderdijk, worldfamous for its windmills in the Dutch landscape. We had friends visiting from Singapore and Abu Dhabi  and seeing windmills was on the top of their list to do when in the Netherlands. I proposed to visit Kinderdijk as there is no other place in the world where there are so many windmills as near this Dutch village.

In the Netherlands there are still about 1000 windmills of which 19 can be found near Kinderdijk. These are well preserved and one windmill is open as a little museum. The mills are located in the Alblasserwaard polders which are located below sea level. The mills drain the excess water from the polders to be sluiced into the river Lek. Nowadays power driven pumps are used to do this job including one of the largest water screw pumping stations in Western Europe.

With the mills also the area is preserved. When arriving in the area you come from a highway and enter an area of villages and industrial areas. My first thought was "how can the mills be in this area?". Because I know from pictures it looks like they are in a very isolated area. But then you drive next to the river and have some really nice houses on the other side. When looking between the houses we got a first glance of the windmills. The houses are built on the dyke, so the area behind is lower in the polders, with the windmills spread here and there. And indeed, it looks isolated although villages and even industrial areas are nearby.

The area is really beautiful. Quiet and green with a lot of water and all these windmills in the horizon. You may rent a bike or just go for a walk to explore the area. The windmill that can be visited is furnished with some typical dutch furniture such as the lamp and tablecloths. You will find some information on how people used to live in the windmill. Further you can go upstairs and peek your head above the stairs in the top of the mill to see the powerful construction.

If you have time you can take a 30 minute boat trip in the area to come nearer to the windmills without too much of walking. Another option which is nice if you have time is to take the boat in Rotterdam to Kinderdijk. You will then have about 1 hour to explore Kinderdijk before the boat will go back to Rotterdam. After enjoying the views of Kinderdijk you will then enjoy the view of the Rotterdam skyline.

Overall I liked the view of the windmills in the green area the most. Together with the possibility to see one mill from inside and a nice souvenir shop and restaurant this makes Kinderdijk a worthy half day trip when coming from Amsterdam.

Visitor information:
For more information visit the website
Kinderdijk is about 1 hr by car from Amsterdam.

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