In addition to clogs and tulips, windmills are one of the most famous symbols of the Netherlands. Kinderdijk is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Netherlands. It’s located where the Lek and Noord Rivers meet and consists of 19 windmills built around 1740. This group of mills is one of the most famous Dutch tourist sites. If you want to see how the windmill’s interior works and how the miller’s families lived, you can look inside of the two windmills.
History of Kinderdijk
Kinderdijk mills were built to pump water from the low polder. At the bottom of each mill is a paddle wheel, which raises the water. They are architecturally unique and historically interesting, and still have the function for which they were built. Since 1868, two steam pumping stations have been built to help windmills do their job. In 1924, steam pumps were replaced by a diesel pumping station. Also, windmill mills today must be kept in good working condition in the case of a power failure or disaster.
The origin of the name
There are several versions of the history of the name Kinderdijk: The most famous story dates from 1421 during the great flood when a cradle was found at the site. The cat kept the cradle on the water, and inside it was a child who only survived the flood. Another story tells that the name Kinderdijk was created because the embankment was built with the help of child labor.
The third story is that Jan lived in a large house near Kinderdijk. He had many children and that is why this area is so named. The fourth version of the origin of the name Kinderdijk is that the embankment was low relative to the surrounding embankments, so it was like a “child”.
The entrance to Kinderdijk is free for walking. You only pay if you want to enter the Visitor Center, go to the windmill or a boat ride on the channels to see the windmills. What I suggest is renting a bike so you can visit all the windmills, relax, take pictures and have fun. You start your visit at the Visitor Center. (Wisboom Pumping Station). There you will find a small exhibition, a video with 6 screens and a subtitle in 4 languages. A brochure ticket is provided with the purchase of tickets.
Two mills are open to the public. One windmill has ground floor access only and the other gives you access to all 3 floors. Certainly, both give you an insight into how millers and their families once lived in these windmills. In addition to admiring the windmills, there is a movie, interactive games, and detailed tours. You can learn facts that may intrigue you, such as windmills are not used to grind corn as many people think but are actually used to pump water. Also, the Museum Complex also has a souvenir shop and a De Molenhook cafe.
Ticket purchase instructions
You can buy your tickets there, but you can easily do it online and you will get a savings of 2 euro per ticket (link). You will receive the e-ticket in a few minutes by email. Download the Kinderdijk app and you can link your ticket to the app for easy access. Also, the app has a lot of information about the site as well as an audio tour.