Kinderdijk  is a village in the Alblasserwaard polder of the Netherlands. It's a popular, yet authentic, tourist destination for its large network of windmills. These received recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
Kinderdijk lies in the Alblasserwaard, at the confluence of the Lek and Noord rivers. In Alblasserwaard, problems with water became more and more apparent in the 13th century. Large canals, called "weteringen", 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.
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; the reservoir could be pumped out into the river by other windmills whenever the river level was low enough; the river level has both seasonal and tidal variations. Although some of the windmills are still used, the main water works are provided by two diesel pumping stations near one of the entrances of the windmills site.
By public transit
Although Kinderdijk is in a rural area, getting there with public transport is possible on several ways. Buses are operated by Qbuzz. Regular OV-chipkaart is valid, also the Holland Travel Ticket. Alternatively tickets can be bought when entering the bus for around €4,50.- one way (debit/credit card only). Local RET daytickets are not valid on Qbuzz buses.
The bus stop is Kinderdijk, Molenkade for both routes. That is the third stop in the village Kinderdijk after IHC Smit and Kloos.
There are many ways to get to Kinderdijk by motorway. If you're coming from Rotterdam, drive south along motorway A16 in the direction to Dordrecht. At the junction, get onto the A15 that goes in eastward direction to Gorinchem. Get off at exit 22 and follow the signs to Kinderdijk.
If you're coming from Amsterdam or Utrecht, drive south along motorway A2. At the junction Everdingen, get onto motorway A27 that goes to Gorinchem in southwestern direction. At the junction Gorinchem, get onto motorway A15 that goes to Rotterdam in westwards direction. Get off at exit 22 and follow the signs to Kinderdijk. The ride is about 100 km from Amsterdam.
Parking is difficult because of limited parking space. The road is busy and narrow. A convenient alternative is parking your car at Park and Ride Beverwaard in Rotterdam and take the 489 bus to Kinderdijk.
You can also take the Waterbus  ferry from Rotterdam (under the Erasmus bridge) or from Dordrecht (on Merwekade). Take Route 20 and get off at Ridderkerk (De Schans). There you have to transfer to a smaller ferry to Kinderdijk . This transfer is seamless as both ferries' timetables are synchronized with one another. Though delays are rare, connecting services will generally wait at Ridderkerk to guarantee a connection.
A single trip should take you around 35 minutes from Rotterdam and an hour from Dordrecht.
The connecting service from Ridderkerk to Kinderdijk starts at 12:30 (11:30 from May to September) and the last connection from Kinderdijk back to Ridderkerk departs at 17:35.
There is only weekend service from May to September. The first connection to Kinderdijk is at 11:00 and the last return connection is at 17:10.
Ticket prices vary depending on the ticket type. However, waterbus offers a special day ticket, valid on both ferries and also grants free entrance to the Museum mill and the Wisboom pumping station. The price of this ticket is €12,95 per person for adults and €9,00 for children (ages 4 to 11) and seniors (65 and older). Children under the age of 4 travel free of charge. Tickets available from the Waterbus staff (cash only).
The best way to see the windmills is on foot or by bicycle. Bike rental is available. In the summer season (April 1-October 31), you can make a boat tour (☎ +31 6 222-484-27) in the canal along the windmills. It starts at the parking lot, costs €4 (children €3) and takes about 30 minutes. The first boat leaves at 10AM, while the last boat heads out at 5PM.
The Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout (☎ +31 6 520-834-86) is the largest concentration of old windmills in the Netherlands. The windmills, being a part of the general landscape, are free to visit. In total, there are 19 windmills that were built in 1740 to drain the Albasserwaard. The mills are not always in operation; this depends on the weather.
One of the windmills, the Museummolen, can be visited inside, and a visit is usually combined with the steam-powered pumping station Wisboomgemaal. The Museummolen and the Wisboomgemaal are opened 09:30-17:30 daily in the summer season, that starts at April 1 and ends at October 31. Outside the summer season, they are only opened 11:00-16:00 on weekends. Tickets are €6 and can be bought at the parking lot, at the Museummolen or at the Wisboomgemaal. The Wisboomgemaal has a visitor's centre, a digital scale model and an introductory film. Some of the facilities here include free restrooms and soda machines.
Cycling is a popular activity in Kinderdijk. You can cycling along the windmills, or in the wider area. It is highly recommended to rent a bike from Touristinfo-Alblasserdam and bike over the dyke for 4 km towards the windmill district, truly satisfying! You can find the Tourist Information Alblasserdam at : Zuiderstek 22 2952 AZ ALBLASSERDAM [email protected] Call us : +31 6 24 59 59 93 / +31 78 693 21 14
It is even possible to cycle all the way to here from Rotterdam! By bike you can easily combine a visit to Kinderdijk with other tourist attractions, such as Schoonhoven (Silver City), the fortress town of Nieuwpoort and Stork Village Het Liesvelt. See: Kinderdijk Cycle Route.
Kinderdijk is not really a place to go shopping, but you can buy souvenirs from the usual gift shops.
There are a few restaurants at the entrance of the park.
Coffee for an affordable price right at the entrance of the park.
You can take the Waterbus to Dordrecht, a historic town with some interesting museums.