Kinderdijk is where the rivers Lek and Noord flow into the Nieuwe Maas. In this small village, you can see the most famous windmills in the Netherlands. Kinderdijk has been an essential part of the Waterschap, they control water levels, since the thirteenth century. In the fifteenth century, an enormous flood was the reason for building the windmills. These mills ensured that the water from the polder pumped into the river. This flood, the Sint-Elisabethsvloed, was the beginning of the area the Biesbosch
The Windmills in Kinderdijk
The mills of Kinderdijk are on the public road. Walking by the mills over the Molenkade Nederwaard and the Molenkade Overwaard is free of charge. There are eight mills on both Molenkades. In the polder of Nieuw-Lekkerland, there are two windmills, and the last mill is the Blokweer windmill. Two of these nineteen windmills are museum mills and open for the public. You need a ticket to see those two mills.
Museum mill Blokweer was built in 1630. When you visit this mill, you can experience how a miller family lived about seventy years ago. You’ll not only see what it looked like inside the mill at that time, but you’ll also see the garden and the animals of the miller’s family. The guides, who dressed up as millers, make it a ‘living museum’, where the employees of the museum, of course, go home after closing time.
Museum mill Nederwaard was inhabited by the Hoek family for generations. This mill was built in 1738 and is the round stone ground sailor type. So be careful when the mill is running, because the sails come low along the ground. In this mill, there are old photographs of the family, and you can see how they used to live in a mill with large families.
You can only visit these mills if you buy a ticket at the Kinderdijk visitor room. This room is at the beginning of the Molenkade Nederwaard, coming from the direction Molenstraat.
The windmills connect with pumping stations for water management. A pumping station is a pump that pumps the water out of the low-lying area. In Kinderdijk you can also view the history of the pumping stations. The first mills had a scoop wheel to move water, then they got a steam pumping station, and even later it was electrically powered. Nowadays, water management is fully computer-controlled and automatically takes many circumstances into account.
Tours you can do in Kinderdijk
Viewing the mills and pumping stations is even more fun with a guide. There are tours of sixty, ninety or one hundred and twenty minutes. During this time you will watch a movie about the history of Kinderdijk, make a tour by the mills, visit an educational barn and for the children, there is a fun treasure hunt to learn all about the mills.
Day filling trip to Kinderdijk
Before or after your visit to Kinderdijk, there are many other things to do in the area.
- Take the Waterbus to sail over the Nieuwe Maas from Rotterdam to Kinderdijk. You can take your bike for free on the bus, so you can choose to cycle back to Rotterdam or explore the area around Kinderdijk by bike;
- Exploring the Kinderdijk area with a Solex is a unique experience. Under supervision, you can not only drive past the windmills but also view the entire region. There are one hour tours but if you want you can also book a six-hour drive with a picnic;
- Make it a fun day out by also visiting Krimpen aan de Lek. From Kinderdijk you can cross the Lek by ferry and drive on to the recreation area Krimpenerhout. Here you can take a walk through nature, children can play in the playground, and at the swimming lake, you can relax on the beach.