Kinderdijk is a UNESCO Heritage site located just a short ferry boat ride away from Rotterdam. Kinderdijk, or Child’s dike, received its name from the 1421 flood that devastated the surrounding villages causing property damage and loss of life. After the flood a basket was spotted floating through the flood plains containing a cat. Upon closer inspection a baby was also found in the basket, a sign of hope to those who had lost everything in the flood. Even as far back as the middle ages, the Dutch knew that to prosper in Holland a drainage system that would pump out the excess water back into the river would be needed to keep the land inhabitable. Windmills were constructed that harnessed the wind to power turbines that pumped water into a reservoir when the river was high.
We had the chance to go inside one of the historic windmills and see what life would have been like for the operators who lived and worked inside the windmills. My take on this; the quarters were small, and the stairs were steep! Diesel pumping stations have replaced manual labour, but the Kinderdijk windmills are still operational and part of the Netherlands water management system.