Like many members of the travel blogging community I found myself in Rotterdam in the Netherlands last weekend for the Traverse 2018 conference. Although I had made almost no plans about what to see prior to my trip I spotted a sign about the Kinderdijk Windmills down by the waterfront and decided to try and fit in a visit on my last morning in the city.
What’s so special about the Kinderdijk windmills?
If you’re wondering why you’d be bothered about going to see some old windmills maybe you’re on the wrong blog (just kidding). In all sincerity most people who visit the Netherlands have an idea of it in their minds which is mostly informed by photos of Amsterdam or the Dutch countryside… in which case Rotterdam might come as a bit of a shock. It is very modern (which I loved) but it means that if you want to see a more traditional side of the country visiting Kinderdijk is a great way to do it.
Kinderdijk is also a UNESCO world heritage site, which tells you something about how special it is. This is the largest concentration of old windmills in the Netherlands, dating back to the 1700s! There really is nowhere else on the planet to see something similar.
Different ways to explore the area
While most visitors choose to walk around the site at their leisure you will need to have plenty of time to see more than 1 or 2 of the windmills as they do span quite a large area.
Alternatively you could choose to cycle. Rotterdam, like much of the Netherlands, is a very bicycle-friendly city, so if you have already rented your bicycle you can transport it with you on the waterbus – they have racks specifically for this purpose. Alternatively there is a rental shop when you get off at the other end as you walk to the entrance of the windmills site. There is a cycle lane and walking lane around the site.
There is also a boat tour that you can do of the basin, which you purchase as part of your entrance ticket. This is advertised as the best way to really experience the site as the water is instrumental to the purpose of the windmills… it is something I would definitely do on my return visit!
If you are visiting on a budget or with limited time the great thing about Kinderdijk is that to walk around the site and admire the beauty of the area and see the windmills up close is absolutely free.
However, if you’re making the trip you’ll probably want to at least see inside and learn a bit more about the history of the windmills. There are 2 museum windmills open to the public and a visitor centre with a film about the windmills. Entrance to these aspects of the site are included in a standard ticket costing 8 euros (adult).
The cruiser ticket is an additional 5.50 euros on top of the standard ticket price.
How to get there
Reaching Kinderdijk is easy thanks to the excellent public transport links in and around Rotterdam. Between 1st May and 31st October the simplest way is to catch the number 202 waterbus to Dordrecht via Kinderdijk from the stop at Erasmus bridge. Check the timetable on the waterbus website but the departures are every 2 hours in each direction.
The journey is around 30 minutes each way and you purchase your ticket on board. A single ticket will cost you 4 euros (they do not sell returns). If you have a tourist day ticket for transport in Rotterdam already then the waterbus is covered in that cost.
In the winter months you have to take an alternative route as the 202 does not run. Instead you take the number 20 waterbus to Alblasserdam and either cycle (15 mins) or take the bus from here to Kinderdijk.
Due to my time constraints I had only a fleeting visit to Kinderdijk but still well worth the effort and I fully intend to go back on my next trip to Rotterdam to explore more of the area at leisure, it is a lovely place where you could easily spend half a day!