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Rotterdam Windmills Complete Guide Along With Our Experience

kinderdijk windmills

When it comes to iconic Dutch landmarks, you can’t miss the windmills of Kinderdijk. Situated only 15 kilometers away from Rotterdam, Kinderdijk is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a spot you shouldn’t miss if you’re curious about Dutch history and engineering. In this guide, we’ll cover all you need to know about visiting the Kinderdijk windmills, like how to get there, the coolest things to check out, practical tips, and more.

About Kinderdijk’s Famous Windmills

Close to the Netherlands’ oldest city Dordrecht and only a short distance from Rotterdam, Kinderdijk is home to 19 historic windmills. These windmills were built in 1740 as part of an ingenious water management system to prevent floods and reclaim land for farming and habitation. With over 40% of the country lying below sea level, the Dutch got really good at transforming wetlands into fertile areas called polders, protected by dikes and drained by windmills.

The windmills of Kinderdijk are not just picturesque landmarks but also serve as private homes for millers who’ve passed them down through generations. They’re crucial for keeping Dutch culture alive and helping with water management. Two of the windmills have been converted into museums, allowing visitors to step inside and experience the life of a miller.

What Does Kinderdijk Mean?

The name “Kinderdijk” means “children’s dike” in English. According to local legend, the name originated from a devastating flood on the evening of November 18th, 1421. During the flood, a cradle was found floating in the water with a cat jumping back and forth to keep it balanced. When the cradle was rescued, an orphaned baby was discovered inside. This heartwarming tale, known as “The Cat and the Cradle,” gave rise to the name Kinderdijk.

How To Get To Kinderdijk From Rotterdam

There are several convenient ways to reach these iconic windmills in Kinderdijk from Rotterdam:

By Waterbus:

You can catch the Blue Amigo Water Bus from Rotterdam’s Erasmusbrug pier straight to Kinderdijk, which takes about 40 minutes. This ride is available in the spring and summer. If you prefer, you can switch at De Schans and take a quick trip over the water to Kinderdijk. Riding the Waterbus is a lovely way to get to Kinderdijk, giving you a chance to see the shipbuilding history along the route.

By Bus

You can also catch a regular bus service from Rotterdam’s Zuidplein station to Kinderdijk. This option is suitable for those who prefer land transportation and want to explore the surrounding areas.

By Car

If you prefer to drive, it is possible to reach Kinderdijk from Rotterdam in approximately 30 minutes. However, please note that parking can be challenging, especially during weekends or peak tourist seasons.

beautiful kinderdijk windmills
Traditional Windmills in Kinderdijk,Netherlands.

Best Things To DO And See AT Kinderdijk

Visiting Kinderdijk offers a range of attractions and activities for all types of travelers. Here are the top seven things to see and do during your visit:

1. Walk At Free Canal Paths

One of the best ways to explore Kinderdijk is by walking along the free canal paths. These public roads provide access to the windmills and offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape. As you stroll along the paths, you can get a close-up look at the 19 windmills and admire their beautiful design. The canal paths are well-maintained and offer a peaceful and serene atmosphere, allowing you to fully enjoy the special atmosphere of Kinderdijk.

2. Visitor Center

To learn more about the history and importance of the Kinderdijk windmills, we suggest visiting the Visitor Centre. Here, you can buy tickets for guided tours and see informative displays. The center also has a gift shop, a café for snacks, and a viewing platform with stunning views of the windmills and the countryside around them.

3. Wisboom Pumping Station

Next to the Visitor Centre, you’ll see the Wisboom Pumping Station. Built in 1868, this old building was important for pumping water until 1996, taking over from the windmills. Inside, you can check out the original steam-powered engine room, which was updated with electricity in 1924. There are interactive displays that explain how the pumping station works and its role in managing water in the area.

4. De Fabriek Secondary Pumping Station

Near the Visitor Centre, you’ll find the De Fabriek Secondary Pumping Station. Here, you can watch a video presentation in multiple languages that explains the detailed water management system in the Netherlands. The 11-minute film gives you insight into how the Kinderdijk windmills worked and their part in keeping the region’s water levels in check.

5. Hop-On Hop-Off Canal Tour Boat

Make the most of your ticket by joining the hop-on hop-off canal tour boats for a relaxing cruise along the canals of Kinderdijk. These delightful boat tours give you a fresh view of the windmills. The boats are wheelchair-friendly, and you can also bring your pets along.

6. Blokweer Museum Mill

Don’t forget to check out the Blokweer Museum Mill, one of the two windmills transformed into museums. Constructed in 1630, this mill provides a fascinating insight into the life of miller families from the past. Go inside and take a look around the well-preserved interior, highlighting the living spaces and daily activities of millers. Explore the different rooms, observe the traditional artifacts, and appreciate the authentic atmosphere of this historic windmill.

7. Nederwaard museum Mill

The second museum mill at Kinderdijk is the Nederwaard Museum Mill, constructed in 1738. Go inside and take a look around the well-preserved interior, highlighting the living spaces and daily activities of millers. Explore the different rooms and observe the traditional artifacts.

Kinderdijk Practical Information & Useful Advice

Rotterdam windmills and canal water
Windmills and water canal in Kinderdijk, Netherlands. Beautiful sunset sky

Opening Hours And Admissions Fees

Kinderdijk is open to visitors throughout the year. The opening hours vary depending on the season, so it’s advisable to check the official Kinderdijk website for the most up-to-date information. Admission fees for adults start from €16 on weekdays and €18.50 on weekends. Children aged 4-12 receive discounted rates, and children under 4 can enter free of charge. Booking tickets online in advance is recommended to secure your preferred time slot.

Facilities And Amenities

In Kinderdijk, you’ll discover several amenities to make your visit more enjoyable. The Visitor Centre has a souvenir shop where you can buy keepsakes for your trip. Nearby, you’ll find cafes like Cafe De Klok and Grand Cafe Buena Vista, perfect for a drink or a meal. If you’d rather bring your own food, there are picnic spots outside the windmills, providing a lovely setting to enjoy a meal surrounded by the Dutch countryside.

Accessibility

Kinderdijk is accessible to visitors with mobility challenges. The canal paths and visitor facilities are designed to accommodate wheelchair users. However, it’s worth noting that some of the windmills have steep stairs and may not be easily accessible for those with limited mobility. The canal tour boats are also wheelchair accessible, ensuring that everyone can enjoy a memorable experience exploring Kinderdijk.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Kinderdijk depends on your preferences. Spring and autumn offer nicer weather and fewer crowds, providing a more unique experience. The flowers bloom in spring and the colorful leaves in autumn make the landscape even prettier. But if you want a livelier vibe and to see the windmills working, summer is the busiest time, when the mills are usually in full swing.

Canal Boat tour kinderdijk

Top 5 Kinderdijk Tips

  1. Plan your visit: Familiarize yourself with the Kinderdijk website and check the opening hours and ticket availability in advance. Consider booking your tickets online to secure your preferred time slot and avoid potential queues.
  2. Wear comfortable footwear: Exploring the windmills of Kinderdijk involves walking along the canal paths, so it’s essential to wear comfortable shoes. The paths are well-maintained, but comfortable footwear will ensure an enjoyable experience.
  3. Bring your camera: Kinderdijk offers countless photo opportunities, so don’t forget to bring your camera or smartphone to capture the beauty of the windmills and the surrounding scenery.
  4. Pack snacks and water: While there are cafes and picnic areas available, it’s always a good idea to carry some snacks and water to keep yourself energized and hydrated throughout your visit.
  5. Allow ample time: Kinderdijk offers a wealth of attractions and activities, so it’s advisable to allocate enough time to fully explore the area. Consider spending a full day to ensure you have enough time to visit the windmill museums, take a canal tour, and enjoy the peaceful ambiance of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

How We Did It

If you’re interested in our personal experience visiting Kinderdijk, here’s how we planned and executed our day trip from Rotterdam. We started by taking the Blue Amigo Waterbus from Rotterdam’s Erasmusbrug pier to Kinderdijk, enjoying the scenic journey along the water. Upon arrival, we purchased our tickets at the Visitor Centre, which included access to the windmill museums and the canal tour. We opted to explore the windmills on foot, taking our time to admire each one and capture memorable photographs. Afterward, we hopped on the canal tour boat to experience a different perspective of the windmills. Finally, we visited the Blokweer and Nederwaard Museum Mills to delve deeper into the history and heritage of Kinderdijk. Overall, it was a memorable day filled with breathtaking views, fascinating insights, and a deeper appreciation for the Dutch engineering marvels.

Conclusions

A trip to the Kinderdijk windmills is a beautiful adventure that shows the Netherlands’ rich history and ingenious engineering. From picturesque windmills to peaceful canal paths, Kinderdijk captivates visitors with its beauty and cultural significance. This guide will help you plan your visit, explore the windmills and museums, and fully enjoy Kinderdijk’s special atmosphere. Don’t miss the chance to visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site and uncover the fascinating story behind the Dutch Windmills.

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