Twenty km east of the large Dutch port of Rotterdam is an exceptional and captivating landscape of windmills in the village of Kinderdijk. For many centuries, the windmills played an important role in the drainage and subsequent reclamation of land in the Netherlands.
Up until the 19th century, there were more than 10,000 windmills in Holland and even though only a fraction of them still exist, they are still an important resource.
The 19 windmills in the Kinderdijk area were built in the 18th century along the waterways of Lek and Noord. In the past, the sails of the redundant windmills were used as a means of communication: the position of the sails indicated if there was reason to celebrate or to grieve or if the operators of the mill had taken a short break.
The traditions of the Dutch windmill are still kept very much alive by several millers keen to continue the rich heritage created by previous generations.
Global Treasures - History's Most Protected Monuments - Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa's Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world's heritage. Join us as we explore one of these protected monuments.