First off, if you haven’t seen this, you’re missing out.
It’s true. Okay?
In the video, windmills are the first feature in the sequence, and for good reason. The windmills in the Netherlands are spectacular (well, at least for people who don’t see them all the time), and they add a little splendour to the lands they stand on.
When I visited the Netherlands, windmills completely slipped out of my mind. I was distracted by big cities and expensive museums. It wasn’t until some of my hostelmates at Rotterdam mentioned Kinderdijk (pronounced kin-der-dike, not kin-der-dick) that I decided to make an impromptu trip there. I’m not gonna lie—it was the best part of my entire trip. And you know what’s even better? It’s free.
How to get there
From Rotterdam, I took the Waterbus from the Erasmus Bridge directly to Kinderdijk. And I highly recommend you do the same. The service runs approximately twice every hour. At the dock, wait for the 202 to Kinderdijk Molenkade. Yes, just like you wait for the bus. The number will be prominently displayed on the ferry. In any case, don’t worry, just follow the tourists. 😉
If you haven’t already gotten the ov-chipkaart (as they say, it’s always cheaper with an ov-chipkaart), you can purchase your tickets on board. The conductor / conductress will come around. Prices are €4 for a single trip and €8 for a round-trip.
Advice for non-solo travellers: you get 5% off fares for up to 9 people and 25% off for a 10- to 35-person group if you book online in advance. Only one e-ticket will be issued, so make sure you travel together. Warning: the page is available only in Dutch.
If you’re travelling with an ov-chipkaart (again, highly recommended if travelling solo), always remember to tap in and out on each journey or risk getting fined.
Alternatively, if you can’t stand water and beautiful scenery, you can take bus 190 from Rotterdam Lombardijen train station. If you’re a smartphone user, Google Maps and CityMapper will help you out there.
Arrival and Entrance
The ferry drops you off right at the non-existent doorstep (it’s an open area) of the UNESCO world heritage site. Cross the road and follow the path straight ahead. At some point, you’ll come across a ticketing counter. Now, if your sole purpose is to take a walk and see the windmills, keep walking. Entrance to the grounds is free. Loads of tourists unknowingly buy tickets which are only meant for the museums located inside two of the mills. You are free to wander around and take photos! It’s really beautiful, and tranquil, even with all the tourists milling about (Hah! Geddit?).
Kinderdijk is stunning, especially on a beautiful day. I was extremely lucky with the weather. It was very cold for a spring day (about 6°C), but very clear. Once there, you’re greeted by open space all around (including water). There are paths for you to walk on with windmills on the opposite bank on both sides. Maybe because you’re not confined in a building with a few hundred other strangers, there’s much less of a touristic feel about the place. There were Dutch school groups doing a cycling trip when I was there, and I was thoroughly amused by a large group of teenagers riding by singing the Teletubbies theme song. If you visit in spring, you might even catch some ducks and geese bringing their hatchlings out for a swim!
So yes, if you’re planning a trip to the Netherlands, Kinderdijk is a must. Forget Amsterdam. This is where you’ll feel some Dutch charm. Not overrated at all!