Kinderdijk is a village in the Alblasserwaard, 15km east of Rotterdam. A system of 19 windmills was built around 1740 to drain the polder. In 1997 UNESCO placed the site on the List of World Heritage. The windmills at Kinderdijk are one of the best known Dutch tourist sites.
Kinderdijk name: Kinderdijk is Dutch for ‘Children dike’. In 1421 there were thousands of casualties when dikes broke and polder land and villages flooded. This is called the Saint Elizabeth flood. But the Alblasserwaard stayed unflooded. The legend is that when the storm subsided someone saw a wooden cradle floating on the water. When he came closer he saw a cat who tried to keep the cradle in balance and inside a baby was sleeping. When the cradle came close enough, the bystander could pick it up. This legend is called ‘The Cat and the Cradle’.
Kinderdijk history: In the 13th century the Alblasserwaard frequently had problems with water. Large canals were dug, but the drained soil started setting and the level of the river rose. In 1738 it was decided to build windmills at Kinderdijk to pump water into a reservoir at a level between the polder and river. Other windmills could pump out water from the reservoir into the river when the river was low enough. In 1886 Kinderdijk was the first place in the Netherlands with an electricity supply work. Nowadays the water works are provided by two pumping stations near the entrance of the site with windmills, but some windmills are still used.
Kinderdijk sightseeing: The site at Kinderdijk has 19 windmills. Divided in 8 circular windmills made of stone at the Nederwaard and 8 octogonal windmills with thatched roofs at the Overwaard. Further De Blokker and two windmills near the village of Nieuw-Lekkerland. Besides the windmills also the dikes, reservoirs, modern pumping stations and administrative buildings can be seen.
Kinderdijk windmills Mill machinery View from the mill
Kinderdijk admission: Admission to the site with windmills is free. One windmill and pumping station are open for public. Admission €6,- for adults and €4,- for children between the age of 6 – 12. Opening hours of the windmill and pumping station: 09:30 – 17:30 (between April 1st and October 31st), off-season 11:00 – 16:00 (windmill) and 10:30 – 16:00 (pumping station). Tourist vessel: €4,50 for adults and €3,- for children between the ages of 6 – 11. Departures between: 10:00 – 17:00 (between April 1st and October 31st).
How to get in Kinderdijk: By car: A15, take exit 22, then follow the special windmill signs. Parking on site is €5,- for cars, €7,50 for campers and €12,50 for a bus. Public transport (Rotterdam to Kinderdijk): from Rotterdam Central Station metro D or E to Zuidplein, then bus 90 towards Utrecht. Your destination is stop Molenkade in Kinderdijk. You can also plan your trip here and read more about using public transport here.
From March 31st until October 6th 2013 it also is possible to go to the windmills at Kinderdijk by boat daily. Place of departure is Boompjes 200 in Rotterdam, 12:00 hour. From November 24th 2013 until March 2nd 2014 this only is possible on Sunday, except public holidays. Duration of the tour is about 4 hours, which means you have one hour to see the windmills at Kinderdijk. The price for adults is €16,00 and €12,00 for children between the age of 4 – 11.
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