Kinderijk Wind Mills (Rotterdam - Netherlands)

Kinderijk Windmills, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Netherlands, was the main reason why I wanted to visit Rotterdam. Dutch Windmills were something - there's some magic about them! I felt it in Brugge & Bokrijk itself!!! The best part about Kinderijk windmills - they are free to see!!!


To begin with, Kinderdijk is not technically in Rotterdam. Its located about 25km away from Rotterdam. While it can be reached by car, if you're depending on public transport like us, the best is the Waterbus (similar to Thames River Bus). Somehow, Google Maps doesn't show waterbus as an option, so you'll have to check with their website to check the timings and routes. More details below. The best part about this - you can carry your cycles in this waterbus free of cost. So technically, all you have to buy is the waterbus ticket!

The waterbus drops you at the entrance of Kinderdijk and a short walk from there, passing by the parking lot, is the ticket counter & cafe. There is a staircase between the 2 and from atop here a view of all the 20 windmills can be seen! Its a stunning view indeed! Close to the ticket counter are the video screening area and pumping room which are ticketed. Watching the movie is crucial to understand the history of Kinderdijk.

I'll give you a gist here - Netherlands is mostly under sea level (yes, its crazy to hear that!), with the lowest point being 6m below sea-level!!! Plus this country receives a lot of rainfall. So water management, i.e, pumping out water is crucial to prevent flooding. So the purpose of these windmills is not making flour, but to push out water!!! This effort has been happening since 13th C CE with the building of ditches, dykes and channels to let the water flow into the river. However in 1421 a major disaster struck, called St.Elizabeth's floods when nature overpowered all man-made efforts to keep out water. After that, more serious efforts were put and eventually by 17th C, the windmills came into being and in course of time they were boosted with steam & diesel and now, since 1995, with the advent of technological advances, another pumping station was set up to do the work.


There are several ways to exploring the windmills - One, there is a walking/cycling passage; Two, cruiser which is a 30 minute boat ride in the dyke, that passes by all the windmills (you cannot get off the boat) with the live-commentary on-board; Three, the hop-on hop-off tour that stops at the 2 mills which can be entered. 

We chose to do the hop-on hop-off. Hop-on hop-off is better if you're not really pressed for time, as you get up & close at the stops rather than just 'see' the windmills. Of the 20 windmills, today, the 2 can entered (and are the boat stops)- Blokweer & Nederwaard and our first stop was Blokweer. It was built in 1630!!! The staff are dressed like millers and are even wearing wooden clogs!!! There are a few extra clogs if you want to try one yourself. 


There is a small kiosk here selling refreshments, and quite a few seating arrangement overlooking the dykes. This is where we ate our lunch, our own picnic, in a UNESCO Site, overlooking the windmills!!! Its a feeling that can't be expressed in words. Feel free to drop some food on the ground (but don't litter!), and the sparrows will come to you! Plus there are a few goats here and on the way are some cattle, hens and egrets and more! Atyudarini has a blast!!! 

We chose to walk the way back and stop at the Nederwaard Mill half way through. This was built in 1738. Its frozen in time as how people would have lived a century ago when it was still inhabited. 

When I tried to fix my itinerary, and was searching how much time I should set aside for the Kinderdijk, someone had mentioned 1hr is enough coz its windmill after windmill after windmill. Now, after I've seen the place, that answer is amusing. 1hr is not even enough to take some good pictures! 1hr is ok only if you're in a real hurry and want to check-off this place from your list. Otherwise set aside atleast 3hrs, to just immerse yourself if the beauty of the place where manmade things have blended beautifully with nature, since the last 1000years. If you're depending on public transport and if you have kids with you, I'd say, set aside 6hrs and if you want to bike, take the day-off! It's worth it, totally!!!

To Get There:
To visit Kinderdijk from Rotterdam (Erasmusbrug), the waterbus number 202 is a direct line and number 20 with a change at Ridderkirk on number 2 to Kinderdijk. While the direct line takes only 30 mins, the indirect line takes 40-50 minutes. The direct line is available once every hour. Both these function only in Spring-Autumn. 
In winters, it gets a bit complicated. If the waterways get frozen, ferries do not operate and buses need to be taken. If water isn't frozen, ferries operate, but the frequency is lesser. Take number 20 to Ridderkirk and take the Driehoeksveer ferry which is a triangular route that connects Ridderkirk with Kinderdijk & Krimpen aan de Lek.

Cycling/Walking path from entrance to last mill: 2km
Cycling/Walking path from entrance to Blokweer mill (the farthest one that can be entered): 1.4km
Bike rentals are possible from various shops at the entrance of Kinderdijk. Alternatively bike can be hired at Rotterdam and taken free of cost on waterbus.

Timings & Entry Tickets:
To see the mills from outside and walk/cycle: Free
Waterbus from Rotterdam to Kinderdijk: €4 one way
Entry to 2 mills + Movie: €9 (Online price - €8)
Cruiser/ Hop-on Hop-off boat: €5.50 (not available in Jan/Oct-Feb respectively)
Individual visitors with boat ticket can choose to go either on cruiser or on hop-on hop-off

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

17 comments:

  1. Waterbus to the windmills? Where do I sign up? There's an open-air museum in Germany that has a Dutch-style windmill, but I've never seen them actually IN the Netherlands. What a cool experience. I think it's so cool that you can enter 2 of them and see people dressed in historical clothing. And yes, I'd LOVE to try on the clogs!

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  2. I am so glad to stumble upon a blog on Kinderdijk. I have been there and you just stirred up the beautiful memories. I loved the windmills there and even I took the waterbus while reaching there. It's good to see that you had a great time there.

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  3. Netherlands is definitely one of the top of my Bucketlist. There are just so many beautiful places to explore in Netherlands. I actually haven't seen a windmills and taking the waterbus to reach there will definitely be a great experience

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  4. What a fun place to explore! Your daughter looks like she's really enjoying her surroundings. I love the windmills in your photos, they are exactly what I picture when thinking of the Netherlands. I can't wait to take my daughter there!

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  5. I have been to the Netherlands but only to Amsterdam. This seems like a lovely place to go, and windmills are definitely something that comes to mind when I think of the country. The history is so much deeper than it is in the US where I am. 1738 seems like forever ago for a structure, but I know that is fairly young for Europe. Thanks for sharing your trip!

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  6. For me Netherlands is for windmills and tulips and that is why it is high on my wishlist. You have done wonderful tour of Kinderijk Windmills with all lush green surroundings. Your daughter seems enjoying this photogenic place. For me windmills means generating power from winds but it is interesting to know the purpose of these windmills is not making flour, but to push out water. Good to know that this effort has been happening since 13th CE to let the water flow into the river. I would surely spent more hours here and 1 hour is not enough for me at such a beautiful place.

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  7. Very Nice Your daughter looks like she's really enjoying her surroundings. I love the windmills in your photos, they are exactly what I

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  8. Wow! This is really wonderful. It is my first time to hear about the Kinderijk Windmills but I would love to visit someday. Happy to know that they are free to see.

    Thank you for sharing this. Happy to add another destination to my bucket list.

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  9. I'm Dutch and I've never actually been to Kinderdijk. It is such a big tourist attraction that most Dutch people don't want to go anymore, which is a shame. From your post, it does sound very geared towards tourists, especially with people dressing in traditional costumes and wooden clogs (no one really wears that anymore). Although it looks beautiful, there are a lot of places in the Netherlands where you can see windmills without the tourist circus. Glad to hear you enjoyed it though.

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  10. I just love places frozen in time like this. The Kinderijk Windmills look wonderful, and a cruise in the water would be amazing fun! Beautiful day out!

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  11. In your opinion, which is better, Zaanse Schans or this? The former is on my list but since you said this is free then maybe I'll go here instead. But this is kinda far from Amsterdam I guess?

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  12. In your opinion, which is better, Zaanse Schans or this? The former is on my bucket list. But since you mentioned that it's free to visit the windmills here, maybe I'll just go here instead. But isn't this far from Amsterdam too?

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  13. I love the history of this area, it is especially fascinating how the place is BELOW sea level. Sounds similar to New Orleans but the dutch actually have things in place to solve the flooding issues. I love that this is such an affordable day trip as well.

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  14. Recently, I have been thinking more and more about going to the Netherlands. I am very interested in this country. These windmills are really impressive. When it comes to the fact that the Netherlands is below sea level, once one Dutchman I met joked that this is why the people in the Netherlands are so tall that if the country is sunk they will not drown. He was over 2 meters tall and said that the water would reach his neck at least. :)

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  15. This is the image of the Netherlands I have in mind. What a great find, it certainly makes for a great day trip from Rotterdam!

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  16. What a lovely place! I vaguely knew that some of the Netherlands were under sea level, but I didn't really know the windmills were related to that! It's also really helpful that you mention the waterbus here, especially if it doesn't show up as an option on Google. I also totally agree that I would be more than happy to spend an entire day here. One hour just doesn't sound like it would cut it!

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