There are numerous things in Holland that are regarded as classic to do and to try. For instance, the most recognizable are to wander around Red Lights District, watch the displays of Van Gogh museum, taste and, notably, purchase some original Dutch cheese, enjoy the beauty of tulips’ fields or head to flowers’ markets, although the popularity of Dutch windmills fades away more and more, especially amongst young tourists. Modern advancements in urban architecture and constant emergence of new art galleries and concert venues drive travelers’ attention from probably the most symbolic thing in history and livelihood of the Dutch. That is windmills, and more specifically Kinderdijk.
Far back in the 18th century 19 momentous windmills became “eternal residents” of Kinderdijk village and till nowadays the rows of them delight an eye of locals. As Holland.net says, this sight was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage in 1997, which points out its historic and architectural value. Many relate Kinderdijk windmills to long-standing history of the peoples’ struggle with the sea due to the fact that most of the Netherlands’ territory is under the sea level; though, the first records about the village date back to the 15th century.
Legend has it that «Kinderdijk» got its name (which translates from the Dutch as “baby dam”) thanks to an unusual event in 1421, in particular, during the flood of St. Elizabeth. When a terrible storm subsided, people went to see what had been left. The only thing to survive was a small crib, floating upon the water surface. When the cradle got closer, people noticed something was moving on it. The cat was jumping from one corner to another to keep the crib in balance. To villagers’ surprise, there was a quietly sleeping baby inside an absolutely dry crib. Amazing, isn’t it?
As time passed, regular flooding and sea attacks exhausted neighboring lands, forcing people to think over new solutions of how to protect their settlements and harvests from the water. It is appropriate to add that the village of Kinderdijk stands on the confluence of two rivers – Lek and Noord, thus the danger of flooding was twice bigger than in other areas of South Holland.
Ultimately, the idea of building several windmills in the 18th century serves effectively to date. At present, tourists are offered to enjoy its sighting both in summer and in winter. Specifically, in warm season Kinderdijk windmillsseem impressively monumental on both sides of the village canal; in contrast, in wintery months the canal itself becomes a major attraction in the neighborhood, where ice skaters might examine all the benefits of truly natural skating-rink. Certainly, those, who lives in windmills, are real pros. By the way, every windmill in Kinderdijk is inhabited as yet, and two of them are even opened to public. Naturally, it is here, in Kinderdijk,foreign visitors can perceive an atmosphere of traditional Holland in all its glory.