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Kinderdijk and its 19 historic windmills attracts tourists from all across the globe seeking out world heritage. After 1600, it became increasingly difficult to handle water drainage in the boggy ground in the Alblasserwaard polder’s western region. Storage basins were built to drain the Grote Waard polder, followed by construction of the windmills between 1738 and 1740. The windmills were intended to pump the excess water from the reclaimed land and discharge it into the Lek River via the storage basins.
The modern pumping stations serve the same function these days. The windmills are situated in a lovely landscape and the spinning sails provide an impressive spectacle for the many visitors to enjoy. There are various cycling and walking routes through the area, clearly marked with signs.
Starting in 2013, Kinderdijk will be part of the new municipality of Molenwaard.

Alblasserdam derives its name from the construction of a dam in the small Alblas River. The annals of history report that the town was founded in 1447. Before that time it was part and parcel of a fiefdom that included Oud-Alblas. The old town centre was hard-hit in the bombardment of 11 May 1940.
Fortunately, the historic Kerkstraat and characteristic buildings along the dike by the Noord River have largely remained intact. Alblasserdam is also a good starting point for a cycle tour of the famous Kinderdijk world heritage site and its 19 windmills. Enjoyable cycle routes through the Alblasserwaard polder also start at Alblasserdam.

Nieuw-Lekkerland encompasses the villages of Middelweg, Dorpslaan and Kinderdijk, home to the 19 world-famous windmills preserved by the Kinderdijk World Heritage Foundation. Until about 1280, Nieuw-Lekkerland was called ‘Leckelant’. From 1325 on, the parish was called the ‘Nye or Nieue Leckelant’, which changed over the centuries into its current name. Starting in 2013, Nieuw-Lekkerland will be part of the new municipality of Molenwaard.
One side of the village fronts on the Lek River, with a tithe road on the other side. The farms along the Lek Dike have narrow parcels extending behind them, typical of the open, pastoral landscape. You can explore the village by taking a bicycle and following the cycle junction system, or walking along the Floris V path.

Oud-Alblas is one of the oldest villages in the Alblasserwaard polder. Situated by the small Alblas river, the village will be part of the new municipality of Molenwaard starting in 2013. Oud-Alblas still has three windmills, including the De Hoop grain mill dating back to 1843. The nineteenth-century reformed church has a brick tower from 1400.

Various beautiful farms line the Alblas River. Cyclists following the clearly marked ‘Molenroute’ (Windmill Route) will pass through Oud-Alblas. Pedestrians can walk along the clearly marked Oud-Alblas path mapped out near Oud-Alblas. There are also walking routes in the nearby Alblasserbos forest.

Streefkerk was initially called Streveland (land along the ever-striving Lek River). Since the local community was striving to bring its own church to the village, legend has it that the name was jokingly changed to Streefkerk or ‘planned church’. Starting in 2013, the village will be part of the new municipality of Molenwaard.
Reclamation of the Streefkerk polder probably started in the 13th century, after a dike was built around the Alblasserwaard polder. Streefkerk is still a largely agrarian community. The clearly marked Molenroute (Windmill Route) for bicycles runs past the village, and there are a number of pleasant walking routes in the area as well. Several characteristic polder windmills are situated not far from Streefkerk.

Dordrecht was established nearly a thousand years ago along the bog river known as the Thuredrith; Dordrecht was the first city in Holland to receive a city charter (in 1220). The city played a key role in Dutch trade, politics and religion for centuries. Its rich history is evident in the over 1000 monuments and listed buildings in Dordrecht, concentrated in the historic port district. A historic meeting was held there in 1572 which led to the formation of the State of the Netherlands: the First Free State Assembly, in which Prince William of Orange was chosen to lead the newly formed country. The National Synod in 1618-1619 marked the end of the religious disputes between remonstrants and counter-remonstrants.
This gathering, held in Dordrecht, also commissioned a translation of the Bible into Dutch, resulting in the Statenbijbel. Particularly noteworthy sights include the collection of Dutch paintings in the Dordrecht Museum and the unique period rooms in the Simon van Gijn museum. Besides various other important monuments and historic buildings, such as the Grote Kerk and the Groothoofdspoort, a former city gate, Dordrecht also offers expansive green spaces. Part of the Biesbosch national park is within the municipality of Dordrecht, offering ample opportunities to experience nature and enjoy some recreation.
A dam built in the small Rotte River around 1270 became the centre of a small fishing village. Rotterdam received its city charter in 1340. Thanks to the dynamic drive of the people of Rotterdam, trade and shipping flourished and new ports were built, bringing explosive growth to the city. The Nieuwe Waterweg canal was excavated between 1866 and 1872, forming an open connection to the sea via the Maas River. The town of Delfshaven – birthplace of seventeenth-century Dutch naval hero Piet Hein, and the last port of call for the Pilgrim Fathers before they made their crossing to America – joined Rotterdam. The city became a world-class port.

On 14 May 1940, during the Second World War, almost all of the city centre was obliterated by a bombardment. Reconstruction efforts were launched without hesitation within two weeks after the war ended. Rotterdam left the past behind, literally paving new roads into the future. Light, air and space were the watchwords. The Lijnbaan boulevard, Europe’s first shopping street to ban cars, was completed in 1954. Rotterdam owes its modern image to this drive to pursue innovation.

Today’s Rotterdam is an ode to modern architecture, where domestic and foreign architects literally and figuratively have room to develop. The Erasmus Bridge, named after Rotterdam’s own philosopher and humanist Desiderius Erasmus, was built across the Maas River to provide even better connections between Rotterdam South and the city centre to the north of the river. Disused port areas in inner harbours were rezoned as residential and entertainment districts. The Kop van Zuid peninsula and the Lloydkwartier district are interesting examples of urban renewal, with their spectacular high-rises and revamped port warehouses.

Rotterdam has grown from one of the world’s biggest ports to a world-class city in its own right. Unilever has its global headquarters here, and the Erasmus MC, the biggest medical centre in the country, is also located in Rotterdam. Rotterdam’s film sector continues to show steady growth, with the International Film Festival Rotterdam as an annual highlight. Designer Richard Hutten, lingerie designer Marlies Dekkers and architect Rem Koolhaas are acclaimed all over the world, working from their home base in Rotterdam.

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