The windmills of Kinderdijk are located about 30 minutes outside of Rotterdam, Netherlands. The Kinderdijk area lies below sea level and a system of windmills and pumps has been draining water from the Kinderdijk polder soil into the river for centuries.

Most of the windmills were built between 1738 and 1740 with the exception of the Blodweer ploder windmill which was built in 1540. Of the original 20 windmills, 19 mills still remain and 16 still have millers who live inside and maneuver the massive sails in the wind. In 1997 the windmills were named a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Kinderdijk windmills are separated into four sections. These sections are the Lekkerland polder (2 of 3 remain), Overwaader (8), Nederwaader (8) and the Blokweer polder (1). The Lekkerland windmills are not as easily accessed but the other sections can be reached by foot and are easily identifiable.

Overwaader Windmills

The wooden windmills of the Overwaard area use a scoop wheel to pump water from the Lower Basin to the Upper Basin.

Nederwaader Windmills

The stone windmills of the Nederwaard area uses a screw instead of a water wheel to mill water to the Upper Basin.

Blokweer polder Windmill

The Blokweer Windmill is the oldest and has a distinctly different shape than the other windmills. At this mill, you’ll see the water wheel mill the water up more than a meter into the basin.

Windmills are common throughout Holland but there are only a few places where there are a concentration of windmills like at Kinderdijk. Seeing five windmills lined up in a row is unusual.

A close up view of the rotating blades gives a better look at the sails and how the fabric is stretched over the blades to control the speed of the mill.

Two windmills have been turned into museums which have vintage mill item and photos to view. Wooden ladders allow you to climb through the mill and see their inner workings. These mills are functioning so the building shakes when the sails are moving in the wind.

The following photos are from the stone mill and are views of the inside and from the inside looking out.

There are other windmills scattered throughout Holland but the most concentrated and most accessible are the windmills of Kinderdijk. The following photos are of random windmills that I photographed while riding on the train between Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

The windmills of Kinderdijk is a 30 drive from Rotterdam or an hour’s drive from Amsterdam but my suggestion would be to take the waterbus that departs from the center of Rotterdam. The waterbus takes about 25 minutes and lets you enjoy the relaxing boat ride.

The windmills of Kinderdijk are one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Netherlands and they are a must see on any trip to Holland.

The Dust on My Shoes

The Kinderdijk Windmills are in the country away from the noises of the city. The walking path passes between the Overwaader Windmills and the Nederwaader Windmills creating a setting of towering windmills in the middle of farmland, pastures and waterways.

Whether I was standing in front of a single windmill or viewing a row of windmills, the setting formed a vision of an iconic Dutch scene taken from times that have long gone.

Many places that I visit let me see historical sites that have been preserved. Going inside and active windmill let me experience the “real deal”.

Climbing up the narrow ladders, watching a working windmill in action, feeling the forces on the wind on the structure, hearing the creaking of the wood and getting the view from the inside out gave me not only opportunity of seeing Dutch windmills but actually getting the full experience of being in a Dutch windmill in the countryside.

Seeing the Dutch windmills is a wonderful experience but don’t pass up the opportunity to go inside and get the total experience!

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