Escorted Rail Tours to Kinderdijk
Experience the authentic windmills and waterways of the Netherlands
The charming rural village of Kinderdijk lies in area of
beautiful open countryside known as the Groene Hart (Green Heart)
in the province of South Holland. Despite its proximity to the
Netherlands' four largest cities, Amsterdam; Rotterdam; The Hague
and Utrecht, the landscape around Kinderdijk is a tranquil and
unspoilt plain, formed where the Lek and Noord Rivers meet.
That the Groene Hart lies below sea level is the factor that
makes the village of Kinderdijk and its environs so special. In the
thirteenth century, to counter the constant threat of the land
becoming submerged by rising waters, large drainage canals were
built. Their effectiveness was limited and by the eighteenth
century a better solution for channelling excess water away from
the Groene Hart was required. That solution was the construction of
a series of nineteen windmills capable of pumping water from the
land back into the rivers and out to sea.
The eight windmills at Kinderdijk were completed in 1738, and in
1997 the entire windmill complex in the Groene Hart was declared a
UNESCO World Heritage site. As such, it is a requirement that the
windmills are maintained in their original state. Today a visit to
Kinderdijk provides a unique experience to see these magnificent
windmills, an icon of the Netherlands, in their original glory and
stretching out a cross a landscape of pastoral beauty.
Visits to Kinderdijk offer guests the chance to visit an
authentic Netherlands windmill to discover its history and learn
exactly how it works. The Museum Windmill Nederwaard has been fully
preserved in its original condition inside and out, and here
visitors can explore the miller's living quarters and the mechanics
of the mill before climbing to the top of the mill for outstanding
views of the countryside and other windmills.
The Groene Hart features paved pathways which are excellent to
explore on foot or by bicycle, but this landscape of peat and
waterways also invites longer treks on which visitors may spot
local wildlife which includes nine of the sixteen species of
amphibians that inhabit the Netherlands such as the northern
crested newt, moor frog and natterjack toad, rare birds such as the
European Stonechat, Marsh Warbler and Purple Heron.
When a break from windmill exploration is required, Kinderdijk
offers a few café's in which to obtain refreshments - and more
windmill views - and there are also one or two souvenir shops at
which Dutch cheeses, jewellery, postcards, clogs and, inevitably,
model windmills can be purchased.