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A day trip to Kinderdijk

What is Kinderdijk?

Kinderdijk is a village home to 19 historic windmills. The village is located in the Alblasserwaard polder 9 miles from Rotterdam. The windmills create an iconic Dutch landscape and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in The Netherlands. Kinderdijk has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997 and is a striking example that represents the Dutch landscape.

What you can see at Kinderdijk?

You can admire the windmills, pumping stations, waterways, dikes, mills and sluices. You can also discover how the Dutch have been using water to their advantage for over 1000 years. Kinderdijk has nineteen original windmills, almost all ‘grondzeilers/ground sailors’ meaning that the sails only just clear the ground, that are picture perfect.


Depending on what you fancy, you can walk or cycle for free around Kinderdijk but with limited access. If you choose to purchase a ticket through reception or online via the Kinderdijk Website  you can visit the three windmill museums, a multi-screen film and use the tour boats on offer. We highly recommend this option if you haven’t visited before, we thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the history of Kinderdijk. When visiting the Nederwaard museum windmill you can see inside exactly how families would live in such buildings or rather, machines.    

Windmills inside

When you have purchased the tickets, download the Kinderdijk App! It is incorporated with guides, photo points, walking routes and an enjoyable audio tour. It enhanced the experience for us immensely.

Kinderdijk app

The Legend of Kinderdijk

On a stormy night in 1421, the infamous Saint Elisabeth’s flood struck and swept away the poorly maintained dykes protecting the polder. Thousands of people died as a cause of this flood. Legend has it that after the flood, once the survivors emerged from their homes, they saw a cradle floating on the water, and with it the sound of a crying baby. It is said that the cradle was kept afloat by a cat, jumping back and forth. As the cradle came close enough to the dike for someone to pick up the cradle, he saw a baby. Legend has it that this is where the name Kinderdijk, meaning children’s dyke originated.

What is the deal with the Dutch and water?

Did you know that a third of the Netherlands lies below sea level? This is why windmills controlling water levels were so important in history before the discovery of steam power. One of a windmills main functions in The Netherlands was to pump water from the lands into the river controlling the water levels to avoid mass flooding. This was not their only function. Windmills can also be used to mill grain into flour, or to saw wood. Kinderdijk is a man-made one-of-a-kind village and is a beautifully preserved example of how the Dutch battled with and against the forces of nature for centuries.

Kinderdijk windmills


When visiting Kinderdijk, you step directly into Dutch history. It is worth remembering that everything at Kinderdijk lies below sea level. In the wetlands around Dordrecht located South west of The Netherlands we find the nineteen remarkable windmills of Kinderdijk. Built around 1740, the windmills stand as a collaboration to a larger water management system to prevent floods. The windmills of Kinderdijk were established to keep the low-lying lands to the East of the Alblasserwaard dry. Before the windmills and any development this whole area was an enormous peat bog caught between the rampant rivers and the wrath of the sea. At present this land is used for agriculture.

With the creation of the steam engine, the 19 windmills at Kinderdijk were united with two steam-powered pumping stations in 1868. As technology has progressed wind power has teamed with steam, diesel and now electricity powering pumping stations across Kinderdijk. Although this is the case, nothing will beat the aesthetics of the windmills.

Kinderdijk and geese

How to get to Kinderdijk?

Kinderdijk is very accessible by car, bike, public transport or the Waterbus. We departed from Rotterdam by the Waterbus, enjoying the stunning views of the rivers that made The Netherlands what it is today. You can also take your bike on the Waterbus. Although there were slight complications meaning we had to transfer at a nearby stop it was easy to navigate our way to Kinderdijk. It does help that one of us speaks Dutch natively…

Waterbus Line 202

Operational: Summer (1 May – 31 October)
Between: 9:35am – 17:07pm with additional departures on weekdays in May, June, September and October. Line 202 takes you from Rotterdam and Dordrecht directly to Kinderdijk within 30 minutes.

Waterbus Line 20

Operational: All year round
There is no direct connection to Kinderdijk from Rotterdam or Dordrecht between November 1st – April 30th. Therefore when using Line 20 when Line 202 is not operational you will have to transfer to the Driehoeksveer ferry at the stop in Ridderkerk. This is not possible on weekends!
Our best advice would be to download the 9292 transport app which will help you navigate The Netherlands and will give you the best routes and advice.

9292 app

If you are feeling particularly adventurous you can also cycle to Kinderdijk from Rotterdam, which is a glorious route. If you’re wondering where Kinderdijk is located, see below a map preview.

Travel Tips

– Download the 9292 transport app to help you navigate The Netherlands

– Public transport can you get almost everywhere throughout The Netherlands. Whilst being relatively well priced it can add up with families and tourists. The Tourist Day Ticket will enable you to travel unlimitedly in the province Zuid-Holland (South Holland) for €14,50. It is valid for one full day and can be used on bus, metro, trams and waterbus, making your trip to Kinderdijk seamless.

Fun Facts

– The Netherlands’ new windmills are wind turbines – there are currently an estimated 3,000 wind turbines in use, with 289 of these situated off shore. Approximately 5% of Dutch electricity is now generated by wind power.

– The electric pump now in place at Kinderdijk uses three giant Archimedean screws to discharge water at volumes greater than the capacity of 24 windmills combined!

– Most of Kinderdijk’s 19 windmills are inhabited. Having occupants is an important factor when regarding the area’s authenticity.

– Kinderdijk appears in the 2005 PlayStation 2 video game Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves. Several missions include utilizing the iconic windmills to aid the main character, Sly.

Kinderdijk and Mandy

The Netherlands has a huge variety of places to visit, click here to find out more!

Travelling Translated

Travelling Translated

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