There’s just something about a mill. Water or wind, no matter its purpose, humankind’s ability to harness the natural power and energy around us is almost magical. We’ve seen mills for pressing olives into oil,grinding grain into grist, cutting logs into lumber, and even creating electricity. The mills at Kinderdijk, however, were built for a different purpose–moving water.
I have always been fascinated by mechanical technology. Ever since I was a child, I can remember taking things apart and rebuilding them. Whenever I travel I am always on the lookout for machinery or anything mechanical. While others are looking at the statues and artwork, I’m trying to figure out how the ceiling was constructed or how the rickety old elevator works. So when we went to the Netherlands, I was excited to have the chance to see the windmills of Kinderdijk.
We woke early in the morning to be on the dikes before sunrise. The light is best at that time of day for photography, the rising sun gives everything a rosy glow. We were there before the “official” opening time of the park but since this is a public area, open for walking or jogging at anytime, that wasn’t really a problem.
We parked in the lot at the end of the dike and spent a little time checking out the modern water pumping station. The area still requires constant draining and water movement to keep it from flooding. The land here was reclaimed from the sea long ago but without the use of electric or gas burning pump houses used today.
Instead, these massive windmills were built to capture the energy of the wind to operate the pumps and machinery that would drain the sea water and keep the water moving through the canals. The remaining windmills have been carefully maintained and restored and several of them can be visited and explored during operating hours. You can go inside and see how the machinery works and even climb up to the upper levels to the sail decks for an amazing view. I’ve even seen people riding on the sails as they go round and round in the steady breeze!
When we went to Kinderdijk, we stayed the night in Papendrecht at the Apollo Hotel. This was a comfortable place, only 10 minutes drive from the park. We woke early, went out to explore, and then back to the hotel for the delicious complimentary breakfast of fresh orange juice, baked goods, and cooked to order eggs!
Apollo Hotel Papendrecht
Burgemeester Keijzerweg 100
3353 CV Papendrecht
T: +31 (0) 78 615 20 99
F: +31 (0) 78 615 85 97
Have been to the windmill complex at Kinderdijk? Are you fascinated by these technological wonders? Share your adventures or ask a question.
Author Bio: Jim Vail, is a travel, food, and video creator and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years he lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands, and he’s visited over 90 countries.
This post is linked to Travel Photo Thursdays and Friday Postcards and Sunday Traveler.