The story | UNESCO World Heritage
The story

UNESCO World Heritage

World Heritage because as Dutch as Dutch can be

For nearly a thousand years, the Dutch have been clever in dealing with the water that surrounds them. The sustainable blend of nature and technology used to keep Kinderdijk dry is so uniquely valuable that the area and its windmills were granted UNESCO World Heritage status. From now on, the whole world can come by to experience what we have achieved here!

Kinderdijk has been UNESCO World Heritage since 1997

You won’t find a windmill complex like Kinderdijk anywhere else in the world. The ingenious system of windmills and pumping stations has been keeping the soil dry here for nearly a thousand years now, in a constant struggle between human brains and the power of the water.Visitors come from all across the world to experience this unique piece of history for themselves. Since Kinderdijk is a monument to the history of humankind, we were officially included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Now, we stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the most famous and most amazing places on earth. The story of Kinderdijk is now a genuine part of world history, kept safe for future generations to visit and experience.

Background

In UNESCO's words

The outstanding contribution made by the people of the Netherlands to the technology of handling water is admirably demonstrated by the installations in the Kinderdijk-Elshout area. Construction of hydraulic works for the drainage of land for agriculture and settlement began in the Middle Ages and have continued uninterruptedly to the present day. The site illustrates all the typical features associated with this technology – dykes, reservoirs, pumping stations, administrative buildings and a series of beautifully preserved windmills.

Unesco
In UNESCO's words

Water-savvy for nearly a millennium

The Netherlands looks back on a proud and ancient tradition of working together with the water. Like much of the rest of our country, Kinderdijk lies below sea level. If we would let nature run its course here, some 40% of the Netherlands would be flooded, and 60% would be under threat from the waters! Throughout the ages, the people who lived in these areas had to come up with clever solutions to stave off disasters.

We treat our water with respect and common sense, because we can’t do without it!

Water traditions for the future

The Dutch have always relied on the water, for all sorts of purposes including agriculture, trade, and transport. That is why we have spent centuries finding sensible and respectful ways of dealing with all of this water. Our dykes and windmills are world-famous for a reason. Now that our climate is changing and sea levels will keep rising, more and more people realise that our aquatic tradition is an important chapter in the story of humankind. It’s high time to come and visit then, so you can experience your own adventure as you walk among the age-old windmills of Kinderdijk!

Kinderdijk History

Kinderdijk History

Take a dive into the tale of our centuries-old struggle with the water. The history of Kinderdijk shows how the Netherlands managed to survive below sea level for so long.

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Water management

Water management

The people of Kinderdijk have learned how to live together with the water. Here, you'll find out how the Dutch slowly mastered the art of smart and sustainable water management.

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Windmills & pumps

Windmills & pumps

For centuries, we kept inventing smarter technologies to keep our soil dry using windmills and pumps. Come and witness what human wits and the force of nature can achieve together!

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