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!!!Like my blog? Support me via Patreon! It costs less than a cuppa coffee!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: 2kmCycling/Walking path from entrance to Blokweer mill (the farthest one that can be entered): 1.4kmBike 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: FreeWaterbus from Rotterdam to Kinderdijk: €4 one wayEntry 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

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