Feeling like the hero of the movie «Silver Skates», traversing the perfectly smooth surface of a frozen canal in winteror pedaling along one old mill after another in summer, it is possible, perhaps, only in Kinderdijka terribly welcoming “miniature” town just 15 kilometers from the center of Rotterdamin the Netherlands.
Located in the province of South Holland, the Kinderdijk village is famous for its incredible complex of 19 windmills built in the 18th century.
If you want to see as many windmills as possible in one place, Kinderdijk is the right place.
Legend about Kinderdijk
The Kinderdijk villagewhich can be translated into Spanish as “children’s dam”, got its name after an incident in the 15th century.
Count the legend that in 1421after a strong flood that is so frequent in the Netherlands, the territory of the drained areas (polders) was flooded. When the water receded, the residents went to the levee to see if anything had survived the flood.
Suddenly they saw a cradle floating on the water. As she approached the cradle to the dam, they saw that a cat rocked the cradle from one side to the other, doing everything possible so that it did not tip over in the water. What was the surprise of those present when the cradle reached the banks of the dam and they could see that inside the crib there was a sleeping baby and the cat had saved him!
“Kinderdijk” is made up of “kinder” (child) and “dijk” (dam).
Appearance of the mills
The appearance of up to 19 windmills in Kinderdijk is not a coincidence.
It is known that many lands of the netherlands are below sea level, which exposes many of its territories to a constant risk of flooding. And Kinderdijk is one of those places.
To try to stop the flooding, residents had to do constant hard work: build dams and dig artificial channels, thus draining flooded areas.
It is also worth mentioning that the town itself is already at the confluence of two rivers: Lek and Noord, which on several occasions overflowed and spilled into houses in their path. Therefore, centuries ago it was necessary build a complex of mills capable of retaining water at the proper level to save homes and lands.
So the 19 famous Kinderdijk windmills arosetoday included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Kinderdijk windmills are an example of traditional hydraulic engineering used to manage water and prevent flooding.
Operation of the mills
Video from National Geographic Spain presenting the operation of the Kinderdijk mills.
The one known as Kinderdijk windmill park It is made up, as we have seen previously, of 19 mills, which are divided into: 8 mills on the Nederwaard side (mills made of stone and built in 1738), 8 mills on the Overwaard side (built in wood in 1740), 2 Nieuw-Leland mills (De Hoge Molen, Kleine of Lage Molen) and another mill of alblasserdam (From Blocker).
Map of mills and activities
The windmills are located on both sides of the Kinderdijk canals. and some of them are accessible to the publicin order to familiarize yourself with your surroundings.
Near the park there is a electric bike rental office where you can rent a bike and tour the park.
In winter, when the canal freezes over, skaters take to the ice. Ice skating on the frozen canals is a favorite pastime for the locals. If you wish, you can join them, or simply be impressed, or impressed, by the sight of the former “enemies of Don Quixote”the frozen channel surface and the figures sliding down itas if they had just descended from the movie «Silver Skates».
*Small visitor boats also ply the Kinderdijk canals.
The access to the mills and exhibitions It is done prior payment of an entrance to a price of €9 for adults and €5.5 for children between 4 and 12 years old.
As for the ScheduleFrom March to October (included) they are open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., the rest of the year from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
*These prices and times are on the date of publication of this post for the entrance to the mills and exhibitions.
The most comfortable way to get to Kinderdijk is from Rotterdam (about 15 kilometers). Buses leave every day from Rotterdam Main Station and Zuidplein Station. If you are going by car, you have to take the A16 motorway and then exit to the A15.
There is also another interesting and fast way available, although only in summer, and that is via a ferry ride from Rotterdamwhich takes about 20 minutes to arrive.