The Windmills of Kinderdijk, Holland

| 5/26/2015 9:49:00 AM

Marilyn JonesThe week of sailing on AmaCerto, one of the beautiful river cruise ships in AmaWaterways fleet, was like a crescendo. Every day somehow topped the day before. It was Saturday, next to the last full day of cruising, when the ship docked next to Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the largest concentration of windmills in the Netherlands. A day we had all looked forward to.   

My friends Norma, Sue, Debbie and I decided to ride bikes through the site – even though some of us hadn’t been on a bike in many years. The ship provides bicycles for special tours or, in this case, to go on our own to explore. After the sailors brought our bikes and helmets to the end of the gangway, we were off; a little wobbly at first, but making our way none-the-less.



Twenty-five percent of the Netherlands consists of land below sea level. This land has been reclaimed from the sea. To reclaim this land, a dike is built around a large piece of water. Then the water is pumped out of this large area. These pieces of land are called polders and can be used for farming and industrial purposes.

Kinderdijk is a village in a polder located about 10 miles east of Rotterdam. To drain the polder, a system of 19 windmills dating from the 1500s was built – eight stone brick windmills built in 1738, eight thatched windmills built in 1740, two stone windmills built in 1760, and one windmill built in 1521 and recently restored. Because this is a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) site, all the mills must be kept in their original state.

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