Kinderdijk is one of the most popular day-trip destinations in The Netherlands, yet I had never visited this famous UNESCO world heritage site. Which is pretty unbelievable, as I don’t live too far from there and my inlaws basically live around the corner. So this summer, on a gloriously warm and sunny day, me and my little boy set of on our own little adventure to marvel at the windmills of Kinderdijk.
Kinderdijk is tucked away a little, but still very easy to reach from pretty much everywhere in The Netherlands. If you’re staying in one of the larger cities in The Netherlands, Kinderdijk is easy to reach from Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and of course Amsterdam. However, if you’re staying anywhere else, it’s still pretty easy to get to this beautiful UNESCO world heritage destination.
The easiest way to get to Kinderdijk is by car. I advise you to get there very early in the morning when it’s still quiet with enough spaces to park. Parking spaces are rather limited. When my son and I visited, we arrived around 9 am and there was still ample space for our car. If you don’t have a car at hand, you can always rent a car to visit the windmills of Kinderdijk.
From Rotterdam, you can take bus no. 489 which leaves at Rotterdam Kralingse Zoom station. You’ll get off at bus stop Kinderdijk Molenkade. The trip takes about 40 minutes. You can also travel to Kinderdijk from Dordrecht. At Dordrecht central station take bus no. 316. The trip to bus stop Kinderdijk Molenkade takes about 35 minutes. When travelling on public transport in The Netherlands you’ll need an OV Chip Card, a chargeable card that is valid on all public transport in the country.
One of the best ways to travel to Kinderdijk is by boat. It’s a great ride up there and you couldn’t feel more at one with the typical Dutch landscape than when travelling by water. From either Rotterdam or Dordrecht you can travel to Kinderdijk by Waterbus. If you’ve rented a bike, you’re allowed to take it on board with you. The trip takes about 40 minutes and you can walk or cycle to the site within minutes from disembarking.
A long bike line stretches out from the canal along which the 19 windmills of Kinderdijk are perched. One of the best ways to visit is by bike. You can take your own (rental) bike of course, but you can also book a bike tour from Rotterdam. During this bike tour, you’ll cycle along the windmills, take a boat tour and visit one of the historical windmills.
Book a tour
- From Amsterdam
Are you staying in Amsterdam and would you like to see Kinderdijk? You can take the train and the bus or boat, but it’s also possible to book a day trip with a small group. During this trip you’ll see all the windmills of Kinderdijk, visit two of the windmills and take a boat trip. There is also some free time so you can take as many photos as you like.
- From Rotterdam
If you’re based in or around Rotterdam, this day trip to Kinderdijk will not only show you around the famous windmills but also take you on a boat tour, show you around a typical Dutch farm for a refreshing lunch and take you to the beautiful national park Bieschbosch.
Accommodation near Kinderdijk
There are no real hotels close to Kinderdijk, so if you’d like to stay the night Airbnb is your best shot. I think it’s actually worth the stay because in the morning and from the later afternoon on all the daytrippers have left and it will be just you and the windmills. Plus, sunset and sunrise are the best times to take some amazing photographs of the area. This particular Airbnb is pretty amazing as it not only offers a tastefully decorated apartment with cosy bedrooms, a lovely living room and fully equipped kitchen, it also offers an amazing view over the windmills of Kinderdijk from the balcony. It’s truly stunning.
The windmills of Kinderdijk are unique. There isn’t anything like this, anywhere in the world. When you visit the site you will immediately notice that the water is actually a bit higher than you are. That’s right, Kinderdijk is below sea level. So, how do you keep your feet dry? Well, that’s where all those windmills come in. Over the centuries these were built to pump the land dry and keep it from flooding, all powered by the grand blades of the windmills.
Over a thousand years ago the Alblasserwaard was trapped between rivers and the sea. The area could only be entered by hunters and fishermen if the water levels were low enough. Over the centuries a system using windmills were used as pumping stations to get rid of the excess water which can be pumped back onto the land in times of drought. The windmills of Kinderdijk are a beautiful example of the finest cooperation between men, technology and nature.
Funnily enough, a visit to Kinderdijk is completely free. You can take a walk or bike ride along the windmills without having to pay. The views are amazing. However, I would advise you to buy a ticket before you visit. Not only will this help with the (expensive) upkeep of these 19 giant historical monuments, but a ticket also grants you access to three windmills. In one of them, you can see what it was like to live in a windmill, another windmill shows the technology behind the windmills and there’s also a windmill with a little petting zoo and café.
With the ticket you can also take a look at an interesting movie in the visitor centre, explaining the history of Kinderdijk and how the amazing windmills have helped to keep the land dry. From the visitor centre, there’s an amazing view over all 19 windmills and you can board a boat to take a look a the windmills from the water. And yes, you’ll be sailing above the land, which is pretty special.
Kinderdijk, The Netherlands
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