My love for children’s literature be it fiction, folk stories, nonfiction, nursery rhymes, songs or whatever, have always captured my heart. This is one of the reasons I enjoyed teaching young children for so many years. I loved being able to share my passion for reading and relate it to other areas in their lives. So when I moved to The Netherlands and was told about a wonderful place to see windmills, my heart leapt with excitement when I also learned about the folktale that went along with the beauty of ‘The Kinderdijk’.
As the story goes, in 1421 a great flood came upon The Netherlands. The area known as Grote Hollandse Waard flooded. When the storm stopped for a while someone went on to the dyke to see what could be salvaged from the storm. It was then that someone saw a cradle floating in the water. As the cradle came nearer a cat was then seen. The cat had been jumping from side to side keeping the cradle afloat and inside a baby slept quietly. Nice and dry. The legend and folktale has been published in English as… The Cat and the Cradle. Let me just say this… About 20% of The Netherlands or translated: low country is below sea level and we get a heck of a lot of rain. Those two little factors would make it a dangerous place for people to live if the Dutch hadn’t learned how to deal with flooding and too much water. After digging canals to channel the excess water out of the area of the Kinderdijk, the Dutch once again needed a new method to rid the water from the fields and homes when the water levels would rise. A series of windmills were built to pump the water into a reservoir. We drove to the little village of Kinderdijk, which is about 15 miles from Rotterdam, to see one of Holland’s most famous tourist sights. Nowhere in the world can you see this many windmills at once. After a little swoop through the gift shop and a little lunch we decided to take the tour boat to see the windmills. I knew the view would be fantastic and would get us up close.[nbsp] For 4.50E we were able to leisurely sail past the winds of time and catch a glimpse of history from The Netherlands.[nbsp] There are 19 windmills gathered in this area that date back hundreds of years and still work but the water is now pumped from one of the largest pumping stations in the world. The entire area was truly amazing and I will enjoy going back with friends and family often. Next visit, I think I’ll meander up to one of the little café’s that overlook the windmills. A day at The Kinderdijk ~ You bet!! Lisa Jochim