Monday, May 19

Kinderdijk


Kinderdijk is a great location to go to to show your friends and relatives a very typical corner of Holland. This place, located 50 kms North East of The Hague has been on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites since 1997, when the 19 well preserved windmills built between 1738 and 1760 were recognised as being the symbol of the way The Netherlands managed their water ever since. Those mills were used to get the surrounding Alblasserwaard polder dry, as it was under sea level. The name Kinderdijk is Dutch for "Child's Dike". The Wiki entry on this explains the origin of the name as follows: "in 1421 during the Saint Elizabeth flood of 1421, the Grote Hollandse Waard flooded, but the Alblasserwaard polder stayed unflooded. It is said that when the terrible storm had subsided, someone went on to the dike between these two areas, to see what could be saved. He saw in the distance a wooden cradle floating. There was no hope that anything would be living in it, but when it approached, movement was seen. When the cradle came nearer, someone saw that a cat was in the cradle trying to keep it in balance by jumping back and forth so that no water could come into it. When the cradle eventually came near the dike, someone fished the cradle out and saw that in it a baby slept quiet and dry. In some of the stories the cat kept it balanced and afloat. This folktale and legend has been published as "The Cat and the Cradle" in English:.

The amazing thing is that most of the mills are still inhabited!! One of them is open to the public and you can get an idea of what it can look like to live in one of those.

Try to get there on a windy day, when the mills are working, and if possible, bring your bikes with you (at least for the kids!) as you will need to walk around to get closer to the mills.

5 comments:

Steffe said...

A fantastic view and a good history lesson.

FĂ©nix - Bostonscapes said...

I will come back with more time to read the text, but I just couldn't wait to tell you that I LOVE both photos, especially the first one. That's such a gorgeous shot!

Kris McCracken said...

This is the sort of thing that us here in Australia think about when we think of the Netherlands. Some lovely pictures here, it’s great to see the windmills looking so good.

Ineke said...

Never knew that story! Thanks for sharing. Btw, love the storks too.

Lezard said...

Thanks all for commenting on this post. It is an ideal location for photographers, all those beautiful windmills in a typical Dutch landscape. Just pick a better day for the potential light effects!