The windmills at Kinderdijk are a group of 19 monumental windmills in the Alblasserwaard polder. Most of the mills are part of the village of Kinderdijk, which is in the South of Holland. It’s located in between Rotterdam and Dordrecht. This is the area with largest collection of windmills you’ll ever see at one place and they are also the largest remaining collection of working windmills in The Netherlands.
These windmills (molen), a UNESCO World Heritage site, were built around 1740’s and were used to pump water from the polders to dry out the areas below sea level. This place is giving insights into the historic reclamation of land in Holland via these windmill technologies. Now a days this job is done by huge screw pumps which can be seen opposite to the ticket office.
Kinderdijk is open daily from April to the end of October, 9 AM to 5:30 PM; from November to March, this is reduced to 10 AM to 4:30 PM. Admission is €9.00 for adults, €5.50 for children. There is an option to buy these tickets online from the website, which will give discount of € 1 for adult and € 0.5 for children. These online tickets are dated tickets, so buy these If you have planned your visit. Entrance ticket include, two museum mills, multi-screen film and Visit the engine room in the Wisboom pumping station. Boat tour tickets are separate which cost € 5.5 for adult and € 3.0 for children. These boat tickets are Hop on hop off type and you can disembark at the windmill you want to see and again re-board the boat. This can be done any number of times on a given day.
We purchase our ticket online which include movie, visit to the windmill and boat ticket. Tickets can be purchased from Kinderdijk website.
On arrival at this complex there is a car park with a € 5 parking fee. After the car park there’s a small group of shops, a bike rental and the ticket office. After than just a wonderful area of flat countryside with canals and windmills. If you wish walk along the canals, ride your bike or take the boat trip.
It is best to start off with the introductory film at De Fabriek Secondary pumping station. Sit in the middle of the cinema, so you can see all 5 screens with characters debating issues across these screens. The movie is in several languages, depending on how many people understand a certain language. They also played a story how Kinderdijk, meaning Children’s Dyke, got its name. The 1421 Saint Elisabeth’s flood swept away the poorly maintained dykes protecting the polder, causing thousands of people to drown. After the flood, once the survivors dared to leave their houses to survey the damage, they saw a cradle bob up and down on the water, carrying the sound of a crying baby. The floating cradle was kept in balance by a cat, jumping up and down to keep the basket from sinking. The baby was saved: perhaps this is how the name Children’s Dyke was born. One windmill is open as a museum and it tells the story of the family who lived and worked in it. To engage the kids, there is a model of wind mill which they have to turn based on wind direction. There is also a small café and a souvenir shop in the same building.
You can visit the interior of one of these 18th century windmill, Museum windmill Nederwaard, to see the workings of windmill and how families lived and worked in the mills. There are tables dotted around the windmills where you just relax or eat your picnic.
When we went there the windmill was not working. The weather was calm and the staff there told that they will start the mill if there will be sufficient wind flow. We tour the small house for windmill worker family and then went inside the windmill to see the working principle of the mill from inside.
We spend lot of time there and while we are leaving suddenly windmill blade start moving. This gave us an amazing opportunity to know how windmills were working in the past and how they are pumping water.
We went to Zaanse Schans windmills later on next day but this is much better with far fewer tourists, few shops and less commercialized.
This was the highlight of our trip in Netherlands.
After watching all the windmills, boat cruise and see the working of the windmill, we left for Madurodam miniature park in late afternoon.
How to Get There
Kinderdijk is quite out of the way and due to its location, it’s not possible to get a train there. Kinderdijk is accessible from Amsterdam via both Rotterdam and Utrecht.
- To reach Kinderdijk via Utrecht, take the NS train from Amsterdam to Utrecht, then bus 154 to Kinderdijk.
The best way is travelling by bus or from boat from the Rotterdam region. From Amsterdam take the NS train to Rotterdam Central Station. From Rotterdam Central Station you can;
- Take the metro to Rotterdam Zuidplein (Line D, direction “De Akkers”), and then bus 154 to Kinderdijk.
- Take the Metro from Rotterdam Central to Leuvehaven (Line D, direction “De Akkers”), or take tram (7 or 25) to the Leuvehaven stop. From right side of Erasmus bridge go to the waterbus docks. Take waterbus line 202 which will directly take you to Kinderdijk.
- Another option is Waterbus line 20 from Rotterdam Erasmusbrug to Ridderkerk De Schans. From there one can transfer onto the Driehoeksveer and travel to Kinderdijk.
The OV-chipkaart can be used on the Waterbus and tickets can be bought on board. Waterbus accepts only cash.
You can also consider tourist day ticket. These are the day pass day pass for €14,50 valid throughout Rotterdam area. Check the site for detailed coverage.