ABOVE: The vintage cruise boat Nehalennia
returns from a three-hour cruise to the windmills at Kinderdijk. INSET BELOW:
Two of Kinderdijk's 19 historic windmills, a canal sightseeing boat passing a
windmill, and a view of Rotterdam's waterfront from Nahelennia.
By Durant Imboden
a village near Rotterdam, is home to the largest collection of windmills in the
Netherlands. Nineteen windmills--mostly from the mid-1700s--stand in neat rows
along an L-shaped drainage canal, where they pumped water from the surrounding
polders (areas of land below sea level that are protected by dikes) until steam
and electric pumps offered more reliable protection against flooding.
Since 1997, Kinderdijk has been on UNESCO's
World Heritage List, and the windmills in their park-like setting are one of
South Holland's most popular tourist attractions.
Although you can get to
Kinderdijk by car, public bus, guided tour, or fast ferry from Rotterdam,
there's an even more pleasant way to reach the windmills: on the Nehalennia,
an old-fashioned excursion boat that cruises between Rotterdam and Kinderdijk
for most of the year.
About the cruise:
Nehalennia in central Rotterdam, spend an
hour or so cruising up the Nieuwe Maas River to Kinderdijk, disembark at the
windmills for about 60 minutes of independent sightseeing, then return to the
city on the boat.
The excursion takes three hours (give or take a few minutes), and it offers a chance
to see life along the scenic river--including barge and boat traffic--as you go to and from Kinderdijk.
To plan a cruise to
Kinderdijk, read our
Practical Information on page 2 of this article. (The page also includes
links to other Web resources.)
To view captioned
pictures of the Nehalennia boat cruise and the windmills at Kinderdijk,
see our Photo Gallery, which begins
on page 3.