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The Netherlands has quaint cities and beautiful countrysides, but one of the most amazing and scenic places in all of the Low Countries is the Kinderdijk network of windmills. You can choose to visit Zaanse Schaans and see an open-air museum of 8 windmills, or choose the UNESCO World Heritage site of Kinderdijk and see all 19! I was looking for a pretty but slightly more off the beaten path experience for a day trip so I visited the latter, Kinderdijk windmills.

Fun Fact: The Kinderdijk network of windmills has been a protected national monument since 1993 and in 1997, it became a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Though Kinderdijk is located in Alblasserdam, South Holland, approximately 9 miles (15km) east of Rotterdam. It is a bit further from Amsterdam than Zaanse Schaans, it is still very worth visiting! There isn’t any other place quite like it in the world and it makes for an amazing day trip from Amsterdam.

Our ultimate guide to visiting Kinderdijk will tell you everything from a brief history of Kinderdijk, what to see in Kinderdijk, all the ways to get there, and how to get around Kinderdijk once you’re there.

Learn the Language:

In Dutch, the word for “mill” is “molen.” A “windmill” is known as “windmolen” or “poldermolen” for polder mill.

You can easily see how this beautiful area was named a UNESCO World Heritage site, it is too pretty!

The Windmills of Kinderdijk (De Windmolen van Kinderdijk)

History & Geography

The Netherlands is also known as the “Low Countries” because much of its land is located below sea level. In the prehistoric times, hunters and farmers could only visit the Low Countries in the summers if the sea levels were low enough. When people began settling in the area, they built their homes on sand dunes, located higher up from the water in case of flooding.

Fun Fact: A dike runs parallel to a body of water, like a river or sea, and has water on one side. A dam runs across or through a body of water and usually has water on both sides. A dike protects the land behind it from flooding with water, while a dam retains water.

Over time, as more people settled in the Western Netherlands for its fertile soils, dams were built to hold back the sea. But groundwater and rainwater would still easily collect and windmills were built to pump out the water.

Landscapes of Kinderdijk, surrounded by greenery, water, and even a flock of birds floating around.

Legend has it…
Kinderdijk got its name when heavy flooding in 1421 swept the dike away. The rising water caused thousands of people to drown. After the floods subsided a bit, the survivors found a baby in a cradle bobbing up and down in the water. It is believed that Kinderdijk was named “Children’s Dike” after this baby.

Through centuries of trial and error, the Dutch found that a system of windmills and pumping stations would be able to consistently pump out water while retaining enough for irrigation and farming purposes. Kinderdijk harnessed wind power with a series of 20 windmills keeping the land livable; today, 19 of the 20 remain. Two of which can be visited as museums.

Some of the famous Overwaard windmills, all in a row.

Kinderdijk has 4 types of windmills in the complex: Lekkerland polder windmills, Overwaard windmills, Blokweer polder windmills, and the Nederwaard windmills. The polder windmills use a water wheel to move water to the river, while the Overwaard and Nederwaard windmills transfer the water to the basins.

Wisboom Pumping Station at Visitors Center

The Wisboom Pumping Station is one of the 3 pumping stations at Kinderdijk and keep the water level from rising in the land. When the river levels get too low, the pumps will release water back into the river.

Over the years, many of the pumps have gone from steam-powered, to electric, and finally to diesel. Wisboom was originally a steam-powered pumping station and was retrofitted with electric pumps in 1924. Today, other more technologically advanced pump the water and the building is now the visitors center with a gift shop.

Located inside the visitors center is also the multi-screen film about the history and technological innovations of Kinderdijk.

Nederwaard Windmill Museum

This museum is the closest windmill museum to the entrance of Kinderdijk. It is also the larger of the two museums and was built in 1738.

Fun Fact: Millers are people who operate windmills, they usually also live in the windmills that they operate.

The inside of the Nederwaard Windmill museum. The wheels pump the water out of the polder (soil).

The Hoek family resided in and operated this windmill for generations. At one point they even had as many as 13 children living within the small space! Visiting this museum is a great learning experience, you’ll get to see how millers lived. You will also hear the creaking inside and the movement of the sails outside. It was super cool to climb up and down the different floors of the mill and see how it worked.   

PRO TIP: The stairs inside windmills tend to be narrow and can be difficult to navigate. Facing the steps as you walk up and down definitely makes it easier.

The Blokweer Polder Windmill museum from the outside.

Blokweer Polder Windmill Museum

The windmill was built in 1631 and is one of the oldest windmills in Kinderdijk. It moves water into the river using a wheel that is powered by the wind.

Fun Fact: The top portion of the windmill can be turned to face the wind to harness more energy. It is also called a “wip mill.”

The beautiful garden by the Blokweer Polder Windmill museum.

This Blokweer Windmill also has a garden outside where the miller would grow his own plants as well as raise his own animals. Today, there are goats and rabbits living in the garden.

One of the cruisers in front of the beautiful row of Overwaard windmills.

Take the Boat Tour

There are two boat tour options that come with your admission ticket: hop-on hop-off (hopper) boat or the cruiser.

  • The hop-on hop-off (hopper) boat has 4 stops and you can get on or off at any of the stops. The stops are located at the parking lot, both windmill museums, and the visitors center. See map of the stops.
  • The cruiser is a 30 minute ride that takes you around the river, it is a round trip journey and you can only get on or off this boat at its stop by the parking lot. See route map.

PRO TIP: Take the cruiser first to get the lay of the land, then you can decide whether you want to take the hopper to the windmill museums.

The foot and bike paths are shared so do be careful when you’re walking and biking on them!

Explore by Foot or Bike

Personally I took the opportunity to explore Kinderdijk by foot because I wanted to slow down, take in the sights, and snap photos of all the windmills along the river. The footpaths are well paved and relaxing to walk along, just be aware of the bicycles flying past!

PRO TIP: Bicycles have the right of way in the Netherlands. Remember to keep that in mind so you don’t get run over!

You can also go for a more Dutch experience and bring your bike or rent one! Kinderdijk doesn’t offer bicycle rentals, but you can rent it nearby.

  • Café De Klok
    Molenstraat 117
    2961 AK  Kinderdijk
  • Tourist Info Alblasserdam
    Zuiderstek 1
    2952 AZ  Alblasserdam

If you enjoy biking and would like to explore more of the trails, you can also purchase a map at the visitors center or the ticket booth by the parking lot. The routes within range between 40 and 60 km (25-37 miles) and you can even bike all the way back to Dordrecht!

Footpath leading from the windmill museum to the bridge over the river.

Helpful Tips

  • Rent a bike and ride around the canals and windmills, the views are amazing!
  • The Netherlands can be super windy (hence the use of windmills), especially in open areas such as Kinderdijk. Consider bringing a windbreaker to stay warm!
  • Bring an umbrella, Dutch weather can be a bit unpredictable so it’s better to be prepared. There is hardly any cover around aside from the windmill museums and visitors center.
  • If you’re lucky enough to catch a sunny day in the Netherlands, don’t forget the sunscreen! I don’t recommend a hat since it can be quite windy and you don’t want to lose that.
There are windmills everywhere! You can be surrounded in Dutch windmill bliss!

Visiting Information

Address

Nederwaard 1
2961 AS Kinderdijk
The Netherlands
Website

2018 Hours & Admission

January 1 – February 28: Open daily 10am-4pm
March 1 – October 31: Open daily 9am-5:30pm
November 1 – December 24, December 26-31: Open daily 10am-4pm
Closed on December 25 (Christmas Day)

After opening hours, the pedestrian trail and bike path remain open and available for the public to enjoy the landscape.

Tickets: €8 per person (€7 online)

Admission prices include entrance to the visitors center, film, entrance to two windmill museum, and free audio tour in their app. Learn more and download about their in-app audio tour. 

PRO TIP: The booking calendar on the website provides information on “suggested” (less crowded dates), “normal,” and “busy” days. You can easily pick which dates you’d prefer to see Kinderdijk based off of information they have for ticket sales. I picked a “suggested” date and it was definitely less busy!

Special Events: Illumination Week
This event occurs the first full week of September from Monday to Saturday annually. All of the windmills in Kinderdijk will be lit up in a beautiful glow nightly from 8:30pm to 11:00pm. Note that the footpaths will be dark so be careful!

The beautiful Dutch countryside and landscapes surrounding Kinderdijk.

Getting There & Directions

There are three main ways of getting to Kinderdijk from Amsterdam: train & bus, train & waterbus, and by car. Yes, both of the public transit methods will require a train ride, since there is no direct way to get to Kinderdijk from Amsterdam. From Leiden, I had to take a train and a bus as well.

With all methods of public transportation, travel time takes approximately 2 to 2.5 hours at minimum and up to 3 hours maximum to get there, but trust me it is well worth it!

Train & Bus Options From Amsterdam

This option is the simplest (if you don’t have a car) and also the cheapest option since you will be using the most budget-friendly forms of public transit.

  1. Take the train to Dordrecht. Transfer to bus 90 or 93 (Rotterdam via Kinderdijk), get off the bus at Kinderdijk, De Klok stop.
  2. Train ride from Amsterdam to Rotterdam Blaak. Switch to bus 90 or 93 (towards Utrecht Central via Kinderdijk) to Kinderdijk, De Klok stop.
  3. Take the train from Utrecht to Bus 90 towards Rotterdam Zuidplein via Kinderdijk. Arrive at the Kinderdijk, De Klok stop.

PRO TIP: If you’re visiting in the off-season, this will probably be the best way to get to Kinderdijk with regularly running service. I personally took the train and bus because it was the most direct and easiest route with fewest transfers.

Train & Waterbus (And Maybe More…)

All of the waterbus methods will require a train ride to either Rotterdam or Dordrecht. In the off-season, the waterbus doesn’t run as often so there may be limited availability. They are listed in order of least transfers to most. See official schedule here.

PRO TIP: If you want to sail under the Erasmusbrug, the waterbus to Kinderdijk gives you a great opportunity to see the bridge!

Waterbus Option 1: Line 202 from Rotterdam or Dordrecht

Important Note: This option may have seasonal restrictions.

This waterbus is available daily between May 1 and October 31, on weekends (Saturdays & Sundays) in April between 9:35am and 5:07pm. There are also additional times on weekdays (Monday through Friday) in May, June, September and October. See official schedule here.

In order to take the waterbus from Rotterdam, you’ll need to take the train from Amsterdam to Rotterdam Centraal, then take a tram to get to the Rotterdam Erasmusburg Ferry Terminal.

From Rotterdam Centraal Train Station:

  • Take D tram towards De Akkers to Rotterdam, Leuvehaven stop
  • Walk to Rotterdam Erasmusburg Ferry Terminal
  • Take Waterbus (Line 202) to Kinderdijk, Molenkade Ferry Terminal, the waterbus ride alone will take less than 30 minutes.

Take the train from Amsterdam to Dordrecht Train Station.
From Dordrecht Train Station:

  • Walk approximately 1 mile (1.6km) to Dordrecht Merwekade to the Waterbus
  • Take Waterbus (Line 202) to Kinderdijk, Molenkade Ferry Terminal, the ride takes approximately 30 minutes
Waterbus Option 2: Line 20 Waterbus from Rotterdam or Dordrecht

Important Note: This option may have seasonal restrictions and will require a transfer to the Driehoeksveer (Triangle) Ferry.  

This option is available between May 1 and September 30. See official Driehoeksveer (Triangle) Ferry information here.

Similar to Waterbus Option 1 (Line 202), you will need to get to the Rotterdam Erasmusburg Ferry Terminal or Dordrecht Merwekade waterbus stop.

Get on a train from Amsterdam to Rotterdam Centraal.
From Rotterdam Centraal Train Station:

  • Take D tram towards De Akkers to Rotterdam, Leuvehaven stop
  • Walk to Rotterdam Erasmusburg Ferry Terminal
  • Take Waterbus (Line 20) between 10am and 5pm to Ridderkerk stop and transfer to the Driehoeksveer (Triangle) ferry. The Driehoeksveer ferry will get you to Kinderdijk, Molenkade Ferry Terminal in 5 minutes. The waterbus and triangle ferry together will take approximately 40 minutes.

Take the train from Amsterdam to Dordrecht Train Station.
From Dordrecht Train Station:

  • Walk approximately 1 mile (1.6km) to Dordrecht Merwekade to the Waterbus
  • Take Waterbus (Line 20) to the Ridderkerk stop. Then switch to the Driehoeksveer (Triangle) ferry to Kinderdijk, Molenkade Ferry Terminal.
Waterbus Option 3: Line 20 Waterbus from Rotterdam or Dordrecht

Important Note: During the winter season, there may not be a direct connection to Kinderdijk. This option may have seasonal restrictions and will require a bicycle.  

This is the best option if you’re visiting Kinderdijk in the winter off-season between November 1 and April 30. For this reason, the waterbus service is limited.

As with the above Waterbus Options, you will need to get to the Rotterdam Erasmusburg Ferry Terminal or Dordrecht Merwekade waterbus stop.

Get on a train from Amsterdam to Rotterdam Centraal.
From Rotterdam Centraal Train Station:

  • Take D tram towards De Akkers to Rotterdam, Leuvehaven stop
  • Walk to Rotterdam Erasmusburg Ferry Terminal
  • Take Waterbus (Line 20) to the Alblasserdam Kade Ferry Terminal stop, then ride your bike approximately 2.4 miles (3.8km) to Kinderdijk.

Take the train from Amsterdam to Dordrecht Train Station.
From Dordrecht Train Station:

  • Walk approximately 1 mile (1.6km) to Dordrecht Merwekade to the Waterbus
  • Take Waterbus (Line 20) to the the Alblasserdam Kade Ferry Terminal stop, then ride your bike approximately 2.4 miles (3.8km) to Kinderdijk.

Including the waterbus and bicycle rides, this will take approximately 50 minutes.

PRO TIP: I recommend just taking the train to either Rotterdam Centraal or Dordrecht Stations during the off-season, there are fewer transfers necessary to get to Kinderdijk and it’s an easier way of getting there.

All of the travel time is worth it when you get to see all these gorgeous Overwaard windmills!

Driving to Kinderdijk by Car

Driving is definitely the quickest and most convenient method of getting to Kinderdijk, but it, obviously, requires a car. I wouldn’t recommend this unless you’re already doing a road trip around the Netherlands.

The route should take about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

From Amsterdam (approximately 60mi/96km):

  1. Take A2/E65 towards Utrecht
  2. Follow signs for E25/E30 to Den Haag/Rotterdam
  3. Then go on to A20/E25, following signs for Hoek van Holland/Rotterdam/Gouda-West
  4. Take A16/E19 towards Dordrecht/Breda/Ring Rotterdam (oost)/Andere Havens
  5. Take the A15 exit to Gorinchem/Nijmegen/E31
  6. On A15 take exit 22 to Alblasserdam/Kinderdijk/Papendrecht-West.
  7. At the end of the exit turn right at the traffic lights at Grote Beer/N915.
  8. At the next traffic light turn right, underneath the road onto De Helling. Follow the curve in the road.
  9. When you reach the “Dam,” follow the curve to the left, ride along the dike until you see the Kinderdijk Entry sign on your right hand side. This is the main entrance.

Location Map

Aside from the actual location of Kinderdijk UNESCO area and its windmill museums, this also includes the more useful (and detailed!) spots, such as the train, waterbus, and bus stops for your reference.

Kinderdijk was one of the most beautiful places I’d ever visited, it is definitely worth of its UNESCO status. It’s an amazing place to visit as a day trip from Amsterdam (or any other Dutch city). Hope you enjoyed our ultimate guide to visiting Kinderdijk! 

Wanna visit Kinderdijk as a day trip? Pin it for later!

Our ultimate guide to a day trip to Kinderdijk. It's the perfect place to visit in the Netherlands to see some Dutch windmills and the beautiful countryside. The UNESCO world heritage site also has a couple of windmill museums that show you how they work. It is a great place to visit as a day trip from Amsterdam. We'll tell you what to see, things to do, how to get there, and we even include a map! #netherlands #holland #windmills #kinderdijk #dutch #daytrip #amsterdamOur ultimate guide to a day trip to Kinderdijk. It's the perfect place to visit in the Netherlands to see some Dutch windmills and the beautiful countryside. The UNESCO world heritage site also has a couple of windmill museums that show you how they work. It is a great place to visit as a day trip from Amsterdam. We'll tell you what to see, things to do, how to get there, and we even include a map! #netherlands #holland #windmills #kinderdijk #dutch #daytrip #amsterdam

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: 10 Not-To-Be-Missed Amsterdam Adventures! - The Daily Adventures of Me

  2. Avatar

    I think I’ve fallen in love with the Dutch countryside! What a perfect day trip to take and see these beautiful windmills! They look in great condition too! I can just imagine myself cycling along the path, snapping away taking photos of the windmills. Had no idea that cyclists had right of way in the Netherlands!

    • Constance Panda
      Constance Panda Reply

      Yes they do! Don’t get run over, seriously! And definitely visit Kinderdijk, it’s just as beautiful as in photos!

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