I have been a citizen of earth now 33 years and I have never been to the Kinderdijk in the Netherlands. I have lived in the Netherlands all those 33 years. I should be ashamed of that as one goal during my travels is to visit every UNESCO World Heritage Site. I took my kids and wife for a night to Amsterdam to explore the canals of Amsterdam and visit the Kinderdijk. You can make a half day trip to the Kinderdijk or even extend it to a full day if you go see more of the surroundings.
The Kinderdijk Windmills
Kinderdijk (English: children dike) is situated in the Alblasserwaard, a polder in the Netherlands. It’s stuck between the point where the rivers Lek and Noord come together. The polder had to be kept dry as it’s up to 6 meters below sea level. In 1740 a total of 19 windmills where build of which still 18 stand today. They stand along the rivers guarding the water. At the time of writing it’s possible to visit two windmills where one can see how they work on the inside. They also give a good idea on how the people lived in these days.
A third windmill which can pump two ways (the only one there) should open in 2015 for visits. The name “Kinderdijk” comes from a flooding in 1421 when a cradle was found floating on the water with a small baby in it. The windmills (part of them) pumped the water from the polder into a reservoir and from there the other windmills pumped it further into the river. As the dry ground setted the river was too high to pump it in one time. In 1924 an electric system went into operation and after that a diesel station. Today, although through a newer system, the water is still pumped the same way as almost 3 centuries ago.
The Kinderdijk is a unique place you will not find anywhere else in the world. I can highly recommend a visit if you are in the Netherlands. If you live in the Netherlands and you have not been to your own heritage, please hurry! I know, it took me also 33 years but it was worth it.