Windmills are iconic symbols of cultural heritage in the Netherlands, so travelers who visit this country on their European tours may want to plan a visit to Kinderdijk. This small town is just a short drive from the city of Rotterdam, making it easy for sightseers to reach, and they won't be disappointed when they arrive. Kinderdijk is as beautiful as it is important to the history of human development, which is why it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Not only will visitors be immersed in scenic Dutch landscapes, they can learn what life used to be like in this small village.
This destination is home to 19 windmills, lined up in two formations along the Alblasserwaard polders, which are strips of land protected by dikes that jut into the Lek River. The sight of all these massive structures sitting serenely together on the banks of the river is one travelers will not soon forget. In the summer months, visitors can tour one of windmills, which, like the others, is still completely operational, according to Kinderdijk.org.
These structures were built in 1740, as part of a system to control the water level of the Lek River, as flooding was a constant problem for the people of Kinderdijk and across the Netherlands. Their job is to remove excess water, and this was once powered by the wind. As the fans turned, they powered large paddle wheels that scooped out the water from the river, Kinderdijk.com reports. These days, the water is mainly controlled by electric pumps, but there are still a few windmills that operate in the traditional way.
Windmills were so successful at helping to prevent floods that they became common sights across the country, and eventually grew to be symbolic of the nation's heritage, according to Holland.com. They can be found in various areas across the country, but few spots can compare to the breathtaking beauty of the windmills at Kinderdijk. Travelers who can make the journey from Rotterdam to Kinderdijk will want to bring their cameras, as this is one of the most iconic places in the Netherlands.