Windmills, Windmills, Windmills, oh yeah, and a furry chicken!

Kinderdijk Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
South Holland Region

The theme of today was to see more of the country we live in.  We have been talking about going to Kinderdijk and Muiderslot for almost as long as we’ve lived here.  Today was the day!!!

 

Rob had been in Belgium for work for a couple of days so he brought the car home and parked it in town for the night rather than putting it back in the garage.  We got up and were out of the house by 9:30.

The breed of chicken called a "silkie"
  We drove the 1.5 hours, under the threat of rain, to Kinderdijk.  This is an area in South Holland where 19 windmills (molens) were built from 1738 to 1740 to drain the excess water from the "Alblasserwaard polders" which are situated below sea level.

 

We parked in free parking and walked through town to get to the windmills.  We passed through the cute little village and noticed the flowers around doors.  We also discovered a new use for a wooden shoe.  We have seen them used as planters before, but we actually saw one as a bird house.

 

At one point we looked to the right and saw the peat fields with the windmills popping up from the swaying grasses.

  The windmills stand gracefully aside canals carrying the water to the River Lek.  Unfortunately the sun was not in a good spot for us to get pictures.  But the view was absolutely breathtaking, if not a bit surreal. As we continued on we say some of the cutest house with wonderfully landscaped and manicured gardens.

 

As we rounded the corner to enter the windmill fields, it began to lightly sprinkle rain.  Of course we brought umbrellas and left them in the car. We descended down a very gradual hill to the beginning of the peat fields.  There was a large sign showing all of the windmills locations and give a brief history (in Dutch).  The dramatic view of seeing so many windmills in one place was stunning even with the rain and maybe more appropriately seen in the rain. Some of the mills were still and a couple were operating.

 

As we walked between the canals to get a closer look we saw a couple more signs (with English) indicating the site is a UNESCO world heritage site.

  It was granted the status in 1997.  Because of this all of the windmills are kept in working order to ensure they are preserved.  This is done even though they are no longer used to maintain the water level. 

 

One of the houses near the new pumping station had a small fenced in area with chickens but, something was really different about them. They were furry. There was a white one, a black one, and a brown one. I looked this up, later, and found out they are called "silkies" as they have fluffy plumage that feels like silk. They originated in China or other Southeast Asian countries such as India or Java. The first written account comes from journals of Marco Polo in the 13th century. They are now one of the most popular ornamental breeds of chicken.

 

One of the first things to greet us in the peat field was a group of four Geese.

Blade passing the kitchen window of the windmill.
  They were eating in a little group and one gave a very loud protest at anyone coming into “their” area, especially since we didn’t have the toll to pay (food).  We moved along as an angry Goose can be mean if they decided to be. 

 

Along the canal, were old men set-up for the day fishing.  They had all of their equipment and looked pretty comfortable.  We saw a few Grey Heron who were competing with the fishermen.  The drizzle of rain stopped and we saw blue added to the gray of the sky.  The light coming through the clouds in broken areas gave us some very dramatic views to savor. It looked a bit mystic. As we progressed it looked like it would turn into a nice day.  With fewer clouds the colors of the landscape revealed themselves.

 

The first row of windmills we came to were the 8 round brick ones (Nederwaard), the last to be built.

Kitchen - living room - bedroom of windmill.
  On the other side of the canal further down we could see the 8 thatched mills (Overwaard).  Then off to itself was the lone Blokveer-Lekkerland Polder.  Off in the filed to the far left were 2 additional mills of the Nieuw-Lekkerland Polder.  It is startling to see how large the mills are up close.  The cross beams that form the blades are 28 meters long and the building is 15 meters tall.  When the wind is up and the mill is unlocked to rotate, it is almost frightening to get to close.  You can feel the power as this massive blade flies past with its companions close behind.

 

We went inside one of the mills.  As you enter you have “kitchen” in the ground level hall.  It is really just some storage cabinets interrupted by the central post of the mill.  Also on the ground floor was the living room / master bedroom.

  The bedroom was a typical bed of the period.  It was built like a cabinet insert in the wall with a thin mattress on top.  It is very short.  People apparently slept in a fetal position and did not get to really stretch out at night.  From the size it must have been pretty cramped for 2 people.  They had a very practical solution for the baby, there was a small crib built into one end of the bed and raised above the sleeping area.

 

We continued to explore the mill and climbed various stair cases.  Some of them were very steep and others were not too bad. Overall the rooms in the mill were very basic and offered a utilitarian function.  The mill was spinning and we could tell the wind was picking up because the wheels inside were spinning faster. We were able to see the lower wheel that moves the water in action, a first!

 

When we were back outside the sun had come out a little more and it was turning into a nice day.

  As we walked back across the bridge central walk way, we saw a glorious rainbow providing a backdrop for a medieval tower in the distance.  What a great surprise.

 

We wandered further down and got a better look at the thatched mills and then decided it was time to head on to our next destination, Muiderslot. It was a peaceful walk, enjoying the water and the wind moving swaying the grasses.

 

 On the way back to the car, we crossed the dijk and had a clearer view of the marina and medieval tower, how nice. 

 

While there is not a lot here to see, the history of the place and the number of windmills in the relatively small area make it worth a stop. This place was not created for tourists; it is a picture of the past. It is maintained for its historical and cultural importance. When you visit, you will understand why.

vances says:
A magnificent place...nice write up!
Posted on: Oct 19, 2009
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
South Holland Region
South Holland Region
The breed of chicken called a sil…
The breed of chicken called a "si…
Blade passing the kitchen window o…
Blade passing the kitchen window …
Kitchen - living room - bedroom of…
Kitchen - living room - bedroom o…
Crib in the bedroom
Crib in the bedroom
Work boots
Work boots
Fishing trap
Fishing trap
Walking up the stairs inside the m…
Walking up the stairs inside the …
Carved tree trunk
Carved tree trunk
What a wonderful day
What a wonderful day
An upclose looke at nature
An upclose looke at nature
Thinking about this beautiful plac…
Thinking about this beautiful pla…
A nice bench at the front of a hou…
A nice bench at the front of a ho…
A good use of old shoes
A good use of old shoes
Close up bench decor
Close up bench decor
Shoes for birds???
Shoes for birds???
Sponsored Links
Kinderdijk
photo by: aggieaggie