Time to don your travel gear as Eindhoven News is bringing you a series of interesting day trips to venture from this City of Light.
Eindhoven was recently ranked the number one European city offering the best standard of living and quality of life. The Numbeo survey looked at a host of factors like cost of living, health care and safety. However, a very big plus for Eindhoven is its prime location. A mere 90-minute drive to the mighty Dutch Capital and even less to some lovely German and Belgian cities, one is spoilt for choice when it comes to the possibilities of a day trip or a weekend getaway. Art & culture, nature & beauty, history & heritage lie just a short ride from town.
So sit back, relax and happy day tripping…
The Netherlands is synonymous with windmills. Naturally, windmills are on the top of our bucket list of day trips. At the UNESCO World Heritage listed Kinderdijk, you get to catch the historical windmills in action. In a country, where nearly a third is below the sea level, there is a constant battle with water to prevent floods and to keep the soil dry. The Kinderdijk is a chance to experience this water management mechanism through dykes, pumping stations and the nineteen original 17th century windmills. Add to this, the natural beauty of the landscape and you have a picture postcard day visit in hand.
“Kinderdijk”, which means “children’s dijk”, has a very heartwarming story behind its name. These windmills were erected to drain the Alblasserwaard polders during floods. It is believed that on one of these floods, a wooden cradle was seen bobbing about on the waters. The locals had been surprised to see a cat jumping up and down on the cradle in an attempt to keep it afloat and save the baby inside. What a lovely setting for the “Cat and the cradle” story you would have read as a child!
Kinderdijk is reached in just under 75 minutes by car. You can drive via A2 and A15. Another route is to take the Tilburg route via A58 and A16/A27. Parking is available close to the windmills.
Train & Bus
Kinderdijk is accessible from Eindhoven via Rotterdam, Dodrecht and Utrecht. Take a train to any of these stations and then a bus right up to the doorstep.
Possibly the most fitting mode of transport for Kinderdijk is the Waterbus. You can hop on board one from Rotterdam or Dodrecht and be at Kinderdijk in under 30 minutes. In the winter months, you need to budget for ten to fifteen minutes extra due to intermediate transfers to take the Waterbus. There are combination ticket options for windmill museum entries which could give very good deals.
No attraction is typical Dutch if not accessible by bike. Kinderdijk lies on some lovely national cycling routes. Bikes can be rented near Kinderdijk and be taken on board the Waterbus for free. A great option to discover the windmills and nearby areas on two wheels.
- Pick a map from the Kinderdijk website and walk/bike along the old world windmills and take in the typical Dutch landscape. There are no entry fees to do this at Kinderdijk. You need tickets only for the visitor centre and the museum windmills.
- Relax and capture the visit on board a tour boat. A cruiser boat runs from April-November and is an ideal option to sail past the windmills in style. Also, a hopper boat allows hopping on and off to visit the windmills or take close up pictures. This runs all months of the year barring January. Tickets are available online or at the counter. There are options to take both boats in combination as well.
- At the visitor’s centre at the Wishboom pumping station, brush up on your windmill & water management knowledge in general and Kinderdijk facts in particular.
- Step back in time at the two authentic museum windmills and imagine how living in a real Dutch windmill must have been like. These were real working mills back in time. A visit to the Nederwaard windmill lets you see the life of a miller. Old black & white photos, small yet cozy rooms with their furniture and other artefacts set the stage. You could climb up the umpteen steps to have a peek at the mechanism behind the wind and sails. The second museum windmill, the Blokweer, has millers dressed up in period costumes and recreating the old scene. Outside, there are goats, chickens and a vegetable garden. These would have been the miller’s mainstay. The museums are open through the year with reduced hours in winter.
- Be sure to check out the special events that are hosted at Kinderdijk for a truly unique experience.
Grab a quick coffee at the souvenir shop café near the ticket counter. A few pop up stalls and a tiny café offer limited snack options while wandering round enjoying the Blokweer museum. You could dine in nearby Rotterdam or Utrecht before heading back to Eindhoven.
Capture your quintessential Dutch picture with the majestic windmills as the backdrop and trust me it would be one worth framing!
For Eindhoven News: Muktha Kartik Iyer