World Wild Schooling - Kinderdijk Windmills, Netherlands | How to Visit | Where to Stay -

Kinderdijk Windmills, Netherlands | How to Visit | Where to Stay

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If you are planning a family trip to the Netherlands, one of the must-visit destinations is Kinderdijk Windmills. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a beautiful example of the country’s engineering prowess and is a great place to visit with kids.

In this guide, we will explore why Kinderdijk Windmills is a great destination for families with kids, how to get there, the best way to explore the site, and what to expect from the museums and Visitor Center.

In a Nutshell

Introduction to the Windmills of Kinderdijk and its UNESCO World Heritage Site designation

Kinderdijk Windmills is a collection of 19 windmills located in the village of Kinderdijk in the province of South Holland. The windmills were constructed around 1740 to pump water from the area of Alblasserwaard Polder, which is below sea level. The windmills have been in operation for over 200 years and are still used to pump excess water from the surrounding area.

Kinderdijk is the best place to enjoy traditional windmills in the Netherlands, as it’s the largest concentration of old windmills. They are a symbol of dutch water management and a fine example of human ingenuity. Another area with renowned windmills worth exploring is Zaanse Schans closer to Amsterdam.

In 1997, Kinderdijk Windmills was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unique and outstanding contribution to the world’s cultural and natural heritage. This designation recognizes the importance of the site and ensures its protection for future generations.

Do The Windmills Still Work?

While the windmills are still operational, the primary source of water works comes from two diesel pumping stations located near one of the entrances to the windmills. It’s worth noting that these windmills hold significant historical value and are a magnificent sight to behold.

Fun fact
During WWII the area had to rely on the windmills due to fuel shortages. They managed to keep the land dry thanks to them!

Are The Windmills Inhabited?

The majority of the nineteen windmills in Kinderdijk are currently inhabited, which is a crucial aspect of maintaining the whole area’s genuine character. For example, generations of the Hoek family have been living in the mills over the centuries enjoying a unique connection with Kinderdijk.

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Why Kinderdijk Is Named Kinderdijk

One of the lesser-known facts is that we are not sure why Kinderdijk is named Kinderdijk. The name Kinderdijk means children’s dike in Dutch.

As local legend has it, in 1421, the Grote Hollandse Waard was flooded during the Saint Elizabeth flood, but the Alblasserwaard polder remained unaffected. After the storm, a villager inspected the area between the two regions and saw a wooden cradle floating in the distance. Upon closer inspection, a cat was found inside the cradle, jumping back and forth to prevent water from flooding it. The cat had kept the cradle balanced and afloat, allowing an orphaned baby inside to remain dry and safe. This story from medieval holland, known as “The Cat and the Cradle“, is a popular folktale published in English.

Another etymology attempt claims that there once was a resident named Jan that had many children – thus was named Jan der Kindere and this is where the name Kinderdijk comes from.

Why The Windmills Were Built

During the 13th century, Count Floris V of Holland initiated the establishment of District Water Boards, which were pioneering organizations. These boards were based on a cooperative approach, where all inhabitants worked together to keep the land free of water. The system involved the use of ditches and waterways to direct the water from the polder to the lowest point in the area, namely Kinderdijk.

This fascinating piece of history highlights the innovative spirit of the people and their determination to overcome challenges.

Why Kinderdijk Windmills Is a Great Destination for Families with Kids

Kinderdijk Windmills is a great destination for families with kids because it offers a fun and educational experience for all ages. Kids will love exploring the windmills, which are like something out of a storybook, and learning about the technology that has kept them running for over 200 years. The site also offers boat tours, which are a great way to explore the area and learn about its history and culture.

Take bikes for the kids with you. It’s a great place to explore with bikes – you are in the Netherlands after all! The cycling paths are separate from the main road, so cycling is safe for little ones.

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Getting to Kinderdijk Windmills – Public Transport, Driving, and Parking

Kinderdijk Windmills is located in the village of Kinderdijk, which is approximately 15 kilometers from Rotterdam.

Water Bus

The best way to get there is by water bus from Rotterdam or Dordrecht, which is efficient and affordable. This is a means of public transport in the Netherlands and you can take line 20. You can also bring your bike for free.

If you’re planning to visit Kinderdijk from Rotterdam or Dordrecht using the water bus, there are a few ways to get there.

One option is to transfer to the Driehoeksveer at the Schans stop in Ridderkerk while riding Line 20. This will take you to Kinderdijk in just a few minutes. Just remember that the Driehoeksveer isn’t part of the Waterbus, so you’ll need to purchase a separate ticket.

Another option is to disembark at the Kade stop in Alblasserdam (Line 20) only if you have your bike with you. From there, it’s just a fifteen-minute bike ride to the entrance of the mill area.


Alternatively, you can drive and park in one of the designated parking areas. This is the official parking place, there is a shuttle that takes you to the windmills (about 5km away)
Marineweg 3c, 2952 AZ Alblasserdam, Netherlands

We were advised by a guard to park here, which is less than a kilometer away from the windmills. This parking is only available on weekends

If you are very lucky, you might find a parking place at the entrance of the site for EUR 9.50 for the day. The places there, however, are extremely limited, so unless you go out of season or on a weekday, then don’t count on it.

Take the kids bikes with you! They’re going to enjoy cycling from the parking lot to the site and they can also use them around the windmills. It is completely safe, as there are bicycle paths everywhere

Day Trip from Amsterdam

Visiting the most famous windmills in the Netherlands makes for one of the best day trips. From Amsterdam there are several tours available, such as Kinderdijk and The Hague with museums or Kinderdijk & Delft private day trip.

Day Trip from Rotterdam

This private guided cycling tour in Kinderdijk starts in Rotterdam and it includes use of bikes, water bus and entrance tickets.

This all inclusive tour combines Rotterdam and Kinderdijk and it covers all entrances, transportation, food and drinks.

Day Trip from Brussels

You can visit Kinderdijk in combination with Rotterdam, The Hague or even Amsterdam from Brussels. This tour offers the route Brussels – Kinderdijk – Amsterdam. You get 3 hours free in Amsterdam. I would not recommend this with little kids, as it is a long day.

Where to Stay near Kinderdijk

Most travelers stop at Kinderdijk for half a day and then stay in Rotterdam, in The Hague or in Amsterdam. Rotterdam is about half an hour away from Kinderdijk, The Hague with the beach resort of Scheveningen is about 45 minutes and Amsterdam is 1 hour 20 minutes. Here are our recommendations on where to stay with the family.


€€€ Floating Rotterdam Rijnhaven offers floating houses with a hot tub in the center of Rotterdam. This is a tiny house with a kitchen and you can easily get around Rotterdam with a water taxi.

See photos and availability here

€€ Inntel Hotels Rotterdam Centre has an indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam bath and tropical rain shower. Try to get a room with a view of the river. Family rooms are available and it is located close to the center and several museums.

See photos and availability here

Hotel Not Hotel Rotterdam other than a funny name has also a quirky decor. It is a great option for budget-minded families. It is located near the central train station and close to the center and the zoo of Rotterdam.

See photos and availability here

The Hague

€€ Wittenburg Castle – because who doesn’t want to stay in a castle? Spacious rooms, a restaurant in the castle and a garden with a terrace for a sunny day. Note that the rooms have two beds and you can ask for an extra bed for an extra charge. It is located about 20 minutes by car to the beach resort of Scheveningen.

See photos and availability here


Hotels Near the Beach Zandvoort

Zandvoort is named the beach of Amsterdam, as it’s the closest beach to the city. If staying near the beach and enjoying a relaxed holiday sounds like a good idea, here are some recommendations for families with kids

€€€ Center Parcs Zandvoort is one of the best options for families, if you are looking for a relaxing holiday. It is very close to the Zandvoort beach and it has an indoor tropical water park, as most Center Parcs. It also features an indoor playground, a kids farm, and entertainment for kids.

See photos and availability here

€€ Europarcs Parc du Soleil offers beach houses close to the dunes of Noordwijks’ beach. With an indoor pool with a play area for kids, a large outdoor playground and an indoor play area, this is a great choice for families that want to stay near the beach.

See photos and availability here

Hotels in Amsterdam

If you are looking for something a bit more luxurious, there are plenty of hotels and resorts in Amsterdam. You can also find plenty of budget-friendly accommodation options in the nearby towns of Leiden and Haarlem.

€€€ art’otel amsterdam is located in the heart of Amsterdam with most attractions just a few minutes away on feet. This luxurious hotel offers an indoor pool, a gym and a sauna and the rooms are spacious for families.

See photos and availability here

€€ WestCord Fashion Hotel Amsterdam features an indoor pool, a gym and a sauna. It is located close to Vondelpark with the fun playground.

See photos and availability here

The Best Way to Explore Kinderdijk Windmills – By Boat, By Bike, and Walking

You can walk or cycle around the Kinderdijk windmill network. You can also enjoy a boat tour, which is included in your ticket.

The best option for families with kids is to go by bike and visit the windmills that are open to the public and then return by boat.

By Boat

The best way to explore Kinderdijk Windmills is by boat tour. The boat trip takes you through the canals and offers a unique perspective on the windmills.

You will see a small clock next to the boats to see when the next one is leaving. The boats go from the Visitors Center to Nederwaard and to Blokweer. You can also take a boat from near Wisboom to Overwaard (Overwaard is only accessible by water).

By Bike

You can walk around the mills or cycle freely. The walk can be a bit long for younger kids, so a bike is a great idea, especially since parking is farther away. There is a separate bike path from the road from the parking. There is also a separate bike path for a part of the walk at the windmills. If you buy a ticket, then you can also use the boat.


There is a nature path that can get pretty muddy on a rainy day. You can use the paved road both ways or use the paved road to go and the nature path to go back towards the car. The view from the paved road is better though, especially when the grass is very tall.

The Kinderdijk Windmills Visitor Center – What To Expect and What To See

The Kinderdijk Windmills Visitor Center is the starting point for your visit to the windmills. Here, you can learn about the history and technology of the windmills and get an overview of the site. The Visitor Center also offers an audio tour and a short film, which is a great way to learn about the windmills as you explore the site.

There is a café/restaurant at the Visitors Center and the tables outdoors have a great view of the impressive structures of this man-made landscape.

The giftshop is pretty cool as well!

There is a stand to buy fresh stroopwaffels. The name literally means waffles with sirop and that’s exactly what these are, two thin baked layers with syrop in the middle. This typical Dutch delicacy was first made in the city of Gouda. There are also advanced versions with chocolate and marshmallows – yummy! This is one of the best things in the Netherlands, so don’t skip trying stroopwaffels!

You can also treat yourself to fresh ice cream, which is made every morning at a farm nearby. Or you can try poffertjes, they are like small fluffy pancakes and kids love them!

There are 19 windmills that were built around 1740. These are part of water management to prevent floods. Three of these historic windmills are now living museums (Blokweer, Nederwaard, Overwaard)

The Nederwaard Museum Mill – a Must-Visit Museum for Families with Kids

The Nederwaard Museum Mill is a must-visit museum for families with kids. It is the first windmill you can visit. Here, you can see how the windmills work and learn about the technology that has kept them running for over 200 years.

You can climb on this mill all the way to the top! You also get to see how people used to live. There is also a miller that can explain things and answer to questions.

The stair is pretty steep, especially to climb down, so it might not be the best idea with very small kids. You won’t miss much, if you skip climbing up the stairs. The nicest room to see is at the ground floor

World Wild Schooling - Kinderdijk Windmills, Netherlands | How to Visit | Where to Stay -

We were also pretty lucky! The wind changed and the miller had to adjust the sails of the windmill. We got to see it live!

The Blokweer Museum Mill and its Little Farm

This is a living museum that shows how people used to live in the 1950’s. This is when the last miller moved out of the windmill with his family. The Blokweer Mill is home to a little farm with two goats and a small garden. There are also picnic tables behind the little house for the goats. Get ready for a truly immersive and unforgettable experience!

You can also visit the windmill inside, which would give you a good idea of how people used to live. It did make me appreciate even more modern technology!

Outside Blokweer you can see a separate small room as a little kitchen and where they used to wash the dishes

There is also a handout booklet for Blokweer, which explains a few things on how living in the mill was

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Suddenly it started to rain and we found shelter in Blokweer. We are grateful for the rainbow after the rain passed!

Museum Mill Overwaard

The third of the museum mills, Overwaard, is only accessible by boat that leaves from Wisboom (the pumping station next to the Visitors Center). A knowledgeable miller will serve as a guide, leading you through the historic site and sharing fascinating tidbits along the way. Along with exploring the mill itself, you’ll also have the chance to check out the education barn next door, where you can get up close and personal with genuine tools of the trade.

The Wisboom Pumping Station – a unique and fascinating historic pumping station

The Wisboom Pumping Station is a unique and fascinating historic pumping station. Here, you can explore the technology that has been used over the years following centuries of relying on windmills and see how the excess water is pumped out of the area. The museum also offers interactive exhibits, which are a great way for kids to learn about the windmills and to have fun!

The museum is very small, but also very interactive. There is a game for kids, where they have to turn the sails of the mills according to the wind, so they can play little millers. This helps understand that the windmills are part of a complex water management system.

Tips for Visiting Kinderdijk Windmills with Kids

When visiting Kinderdijk Windmills with kids, it is important to plan ahead.

  • The most important tip is to get the little scooters and bikes with you, so that you can easily get around the site.
  • Kinderdijk is a major tourist attraction, so if possible try to go on a weekday or as early as possible. As most sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List it can get very crowded during high season.
  • Make sure to bring comfortable shoes and clothing, as the site can be quite windy and chilly.
  • You should also bring sunscreen and hats, as when sun is strong there is not much shadow around.
  • Finally, be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, as there are limited options for food and drink on site.

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Best Time to Visit Kinderdijk Windmills and How to Book Tickets

The best time to visit the iconic windmills is during the peak season, which is from March to October when the weather is milder and you can enjoy the outdoor adventure of visiting these traditional mills.

You can buy entry tickets at the Visitor Center, but only if the maximum capacity is not reached. We recommend booking tickets in advance to make sure that you will be able to enter the site especially on weekends and school holidays. The ticket prices are lower on weekdays. Tickets cost EUR 19 (EUR 16 on weekdays) for kids older than 12 years old and adults, EUR 8 (EUR 6 on weekdays) for kids 4-12 years old and free for younger kids.

Book tickets here

The Kinderdijk App – An Essential Guide for Visitors

The Kinderdijk Windmills App is an essential guide for visitors. The app offers a full range of tours and activities, as well as information about the site and its history. The app also offers an audio tour, which is a great way to learn about the windmills as you explore the site.

Note that you can download the app freely, but you need a ticket number to listen to the audio tours.

Book tickets here

In Kinderdijk Town

Kinderdijk is a small town. There is a bakery, where you can have breakfast and buy pastries. Their appelflap (traditional Dutch pastry filled with apple) was quite good
Bakkerij Stam V.O.F.
Molenstraat 143, 2961 AK Kinderdijk, Netherlands

Conclusion – Why a Visit to Kinderdijk Windmills is A Fun and Educational Experience for The Whole Family

A visit to the Kinderdijk windmills is a fun and educational experience for the whole family. The site offers a unique perspective on the history and technology of the Netherlands and is a great way to learn about the country’s engineering prowess. With boat tours, living museums, little farms, and beautiful landscape, there is something for everyone at Kinderdijk mills. So, plan your trip today and experience the magic of the windmills!

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