There are some places in this world that – with their natural beauty – remind me why I travel. Kinderdijk in western Holland is one such magical place that will transport you into another time.
It’s hard to believe that Kinderdijk is just a few miles away from Rotterdam. In fact, Rotterdam’s modern architecture and developing skyline offers the perfect contrast. You exit a multi-lane highway and pass through a small town and then down a winding road. This transition gradually prepares you to experience something completely different.
We began our day by taking a boat tour around the whole Kinderdijk site. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Kinderdijk has 19 windmills dating back to the 1700’s. They were used to gradually pump water out of this low-lying area into the Lek and Noord rivers which meet at Kinderdijk. You get a sense of the sheer scope of the site from this boat tour.
I personally find the idea of a mill fascinating. Think of a time where your job is ensuring that the neighboring village doesn’t get flooded. You need to vigilantly manage your windmill/home to advert disaster. Talk about a high pressure job. If you are a science/technology nerd like me, you will enjoy the video in the visitors’ center. You can learn all about the history of Kinderdijk and evolution of mill technology. If that isn’t enough, you can enter and explore a fully functioning mill!
Perhaps the most fascinating thing I learned was that millers and their families lived within the confines of the mill. The rounded walls and tiny windows have a certain charm. I’m sure that after awhile the ambient noise could almost be relaxing. Almost.
Kinderdijk is a jewel of The Netherlands and is among the most wonderful destinations I have ever visited. I say this not just for the pure ‘Put me on a postcard’ scenery. Yes, the mills are complimented by dynamic clouds and wildlife while modern civilization is barely visible in the distance. I think there is an even greater significance.
The people in the village of Kinderdijk in the 18th century learned a lesson that at times eludes us today. They understood that they all needed to work together to keep their feet dry. I think we can all learn a little from that.
Please click here if you would like to see some additional pictures of Kinderdijk and other locations!