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Netherlands: Kinderdijk

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Kinderdijk | Netherlands | Europe

[Visited: July 2004]

Less than 20 kilometres from Rotterdam lies perhaps the most typical sight of Holland. It is an area where original windmills have been preserved, with canals criss-crossing the landscape, and the green meadows in between are dotted with cows. The Netherlands consists for around a quarter of reclaimed land, that is, land lying below sea level. Reclaimed land is called polders. At Kinderdijk, the visitor can admire the windmills that made this reclamation possible already centuries ago, and also understand how polders were actually made.

Picture of Kinderdijk (Netherlands): Windmills at Kinderdijk

Because a windmill has limited power and can only lift water for less than a metre and a half, windmills and small, special canals often had to be built at various levels to be able to pump water up over more than the maximum amount of metres feasible for one mill. This can be seen perfectly at the Kinderdijk area and it is the explanation of the large amount of windmills in this area. It also gives an idea how Holland must have looked like several centuries ago when there were over 10,000 windmills in the country!

Picture of Kinderdijk (Netherlands): Windmill at Kinderdijk open for visitors

Although water still needs to be managed in Holland and water needs to be disposed of regularly, the windmills have largely lost their former function, also in the Kinderdijk area. Enormous mechanical pumps have taken over their task, although in case of emergency it is still possible to use the windmills. One of the mills can actually be visited and it allows the visitor a good view on the functioning of a windmill. Through the small windows, it also gives a beautiful view over the whole area.

Picture of Kinderdijk (Netherlands): Kinderdijk: windmills in a row along a canal
Picture of Kinderdijk (Netherlands): Kinderdijk: windmills and cows
Picture of Kinderdijk (Netherlands): Windmill in action at Kinderdijk
Picture of Kinderdijk (Netherlands): Windmill at Kinderdijk seen from below
Picture of Kinderdijk (Netherlands): 18th century windmill at Kinderdijk
Picture of Kinderdijk (Netherlands): Landscape with windmills at Kinderdijk
Picture of Kinderdijk (Netherlands): Kinderdijk: landscape with windmills
Picture of Kinderdijk (Netherlands): Kinderdijk: reflection of windmill in the water

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