The Mills at Kinderdijk


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Europe » Netherlands » South Holland » Rotterdam
July 17th 2010
Published: July 17th 2010EDIT THIS ENTRY

Wooden clogsWooden clogsWooden clogs

Typical Dutch kids. In their family, some had sandals, others Crocs, and the little guy had traditional wooden clogs. Cute!
A few evenings now and overnight sometimes, there have been these tremendous wind storms. In the mornings, there are branches down and things blown over. We like to have the windows open to cool down the house (no central air here) so we hear the howling wind. We find ourselves thinking....if only there were a way to harness the wind....

So anyways, today we went to the Mills at Kinderdijk. There were over 19 fully functioning mills which covered several square kms of land. There was a nice trail along the canal atop a dike (dyke?, anyways, not a lesbian) so we all walked it and took in the scenic views of the windmills. Nigel went on his own (there was a certain fear of heights that kept Lori from venturing up the many stairs) this time and took lots of pics (some shown). They let you stand within 4 feet of the vanes whipping around. You felt for sure that you were about to be cut in half.

Afterwards we wandered around the shops in town. Also, first thing in the morning (well, after a run and breakfast - so really around 10:30) we biked in to a
Windy dayWindy dayWindy day

We got lucky with the weather. Very windy and not rainy. The mills were whipping fast. Very fast.
special summertime market in Woudenberg (the town we are staying in). We had a delicious appelgaard (an apple pastry) and picked up some cute t-shirts for the kids. Then we got a few grocery staples since all the stores are closed tomorrow.




Additional photos below
Photos: 18, Displayed: 18


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Mill technologyMill technology
Mill technology

The windmills scoop water uphill 1.4 meters and dump it into an adjacent (and higher) catch basin.
They push, not pump, the waterThey push, not pump, the water
They push, not pump, the water

The next row of mills scoop the water up yet another 1.4 meters. Sluices then release water from this 2nd catch basin into the river Lek.
Some call it homeSome call it home
Some call it home

The mills (all of which still work, most of which have a family living in it) are not used today but are kept at the ready for an emergency.
Old but still workingOld but still working
Old but still working

They were built a few years apart, circa 1738.
Three stylesThree styles
Three styles

While functionally identical, there are three styles: plain wooden, thatched, and stone.
Taking a breakTaking a break
Taking a break

The guy tending to the windmill kicked off his wooden shoes and went inside for a Coke.
Curved walls...Curved walls...
Curved walls...

....and tight sleeping quarters. Real families still live in these today (not this one though which is now a working museum).
Flashing shadowsFlashing shadows
Flashing shadows

Inside the windmill there's a flash of shadow every 2 seconds as the vanes whip by. Kind of a strobe effect. Here's looking out the window before it passes.
...here it passes...here it passes
...here it passes

A fraction of a second later, the window is blocked. Don't stick your hand out, there's maybe 12 inches of clearance.
Close callClose call
Close call

They let you get as close as you want. I stood so close the vanes were passing maybe 3 feet from my face with a loud WOOOOSH. It was terrifying and exciting at the same time.
24 inches24 inches
24 inches

There is maybe a 2 foot clearance for the vanes passing over the ground. I guess they don't bother mowing the grass there.
Another close callAnother close call
Another close call

I had to duck to get out of the way of this one.
Newer technologyNewer technology
Newer technology

Around 1955 they started using these steam and diesel driven screws to lift the water. Even this technology has been replaced by a modern pump that can move 1.5 Million litres of water PER MINUTE. But the windmills still operate perfectly well and are protected by UNESCO and kept at the ready in perfect working condition.
Cheaper than popCheaper than pop
Cheaper than pop

Just can't get over the cheap prices here for groceries and beverages. This Smirnoff Ice in a giant bottle was $1.25.
Football FeverFootball Fever
Football Fever

Like everywhere in Europe, people are crazy for football (soccer).
Our 'hoodOur 'hood
Our 'hood

This is the fishing pond in the park behind and to the left of our our house. It is fed by the canal that runs through our backyard. Tonight there were 5-6 groups out fishing in it.


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