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The windmills at Kinderdijk are a group of 19 monumental windmills in the Alblasserwaard polder, in the province of South Holland, Netherlands. Most of the mills are part of the village of Kinderdijk in the municipality of Molenwaard.
See the fact file below for more information on the windmills at Kinderdijk or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Windmills at Kinderdijk worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The Netherlands’ most famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Windmill at Kinderdijk, was first constructed in the mid-18th century.
- This collection of 19 historic windmills was constructed to prevent flooding by draining the surrounding area of water and are spread over several kilometres of low-lying, waterlogged land.
- Large canals, called “wateringen”, were dug to get rid of the excess water in the polders. However, the drained soil started setting, while the level of the river rose due to the river’s sand deposits. Most of the current mills were built in 1738 and 1740.
- After a few centuries, an additional way to keep the polders dry was required. It was decided to build a series of windmills, with a limited capacity to bridge water level differences, but just able to pump water into a reservoir at an intermediate level between the soil in the polder and the river.
- One such flood, the Saint Elizabeth Flood of 1421, is both the source of the name Kinderdijk and of the associated fairy tale, “The Cat and the Cradle”. After the storm, a wooden cradle was spotted on the flood waters, in which a cat jumped to and from, to keep the cradle afloat.
- When the cradle approached the dry land of the dyke, the locals discovered a baby inside — hence the name Kinderdijk, Dutch for “children’s dyke.“
- The Windmills at Kinderdijk is the largest concentration of old windmills in the Netherlands and one of the best-known Dutch tourist sites.
- The mills are listed as national monuments and the entire area is a protected village since 1993.
- Kinderdijk lies in the Alblasserwaard, at the confluence of the Lek and Noord rivers. It is located about 15 km (9 miles) east of Rotterdam.
- The outstanding contribution made by the people of the Netherlands to the technology of handling water is admirably demonstrated by the installations in the Kinderdijk area.
- The uppermost section of the windmills at Kinderdijk can rotate in a full circle, to catch wind at maximum efficiency.
- The eight stone mills of the Nederwaard were built in 1738, and the wooden mills of the Overwaard in 1740. The former move the drainage water from the lower polders of the Alblasserwaard into a reservoir, the latter that from the higher polders.
- Both reservoirs are used to drain water into the river Lek by means of locks during low river water levels; nowadays modern pumping stations are in place.
- The windmills at Kinderdijk were in proper operation during World War II, when fuel was too scarce to be used in the stations.
- As of 2015, more than 450,000 visitors come to view the windmills at Kinderdijk each year, and they are operated during the summer for the sake of the tourists.
PROCESS AND TRAVEL
- Kinderdijk stands on a waterlogged stretch of land surrounded by two rivers.
- Due to its proximity to these bodies of water and its low-lying topography, this region has always been threatened by floods.
- To improve the region’s water-management facilities, a series of windmills were constructed. Like many other windmills in the Netherlands, these machines were specifically designed to drain wetlands and were fitted with mechanical wheels or hydraulic screws that could move water quickly and efficiently.
- By harnessing the wind, the mills transferred water from lower parts of Kinderdijk into a higher basin that flowed into a nearby river, creating an expansive irrigation system.
- Visitors can travel to Kinderdijk from the city via a waterbus. After climbing aboard a boat, travelers must change at the Ridderkerk terminal, then catch another waterbus that sails directly to Kinderdijk.
- The whole journey takes around 35 minutes and allows visitors to discover the region’s waterways before exploring Kinderdijk.
Windmills in Kinderdijk Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the windmills in Kinderdijk across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Windmills in Kinderdijk worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the windmills at Kinderdijk which are a group of 19 monumental windmills in the Alblasserwaard polder, in the province of South Holland, Netherlands. Most of the mills are part of the village of Kinderdijk in the municipality of Molenwaard.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Windmills in Kinderdijk, Holland Facts
- History Timeline
- How It Works
- Stack the Box
- Key the Words
- Useful Windmill
- True or False
- Give Me Meaning
- Windmill Vs Wind Turbine
- Windmill Collection
- Invention Search
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Use With Any Curriculum
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