New entrance zone finished by late March
All throughout the (somewhat) quiet winter months, we have been working our sails off here at Kinderdijk UNESCO World Heritage. Our goal was to complete the new entrance zone and the Visitors Centre. If all goes well, we should be able to finish ‘phase 1’ of the project as March draws to a close.
By the end of next month, the entrance zone on the Overwaard side of the premises should be ready for receiving the first groups of visitors. These guests will be arriving at the special group entrance along the new pedestrian bridge, and from there they can proceed to explore the World heritage grounds. We are also working on the finishing touches of the reconstructed auxiliary pumping Station, dubbed De Fabriek (Dutch for ‘The Factory’) to suit its new looks. It’s been a heck of a job, but we are more than pleased with the results: a gorgeous building on an equally breath-taking spot by the water’s edge.
The stunning new looks of these new structures are up for some competition, though. The view from the new Nature Cottage – third in line of the entrance zone buildings – is at least as spectacular as the other novel sights. Standing by the viewpoints at its windows, you can almost feel the reeds tickling your feet. We have been on a tight schedule, and that isn’t likely to change anytime soon: not everything will be completely finished by the time the first groups of visitors come trickling in. Then again, that’s just the way it is when you’re moving to a new place; especially when you do it on a scale like this.
Meanwhile, we are making steady progress on the new Visitors Centre across the Overwaard Lower Basin as well. Locals and visitors keep on dropping by to catch a glimpse as the activities proceed. Lately, most of these inquisitive glances have been directed at the basement of the structure, which is being implemented in the water. Teams of divers take the plunge on a regular basis to make sure that this unusual building process keeps running smoothly. Over the coming months, the Visitors Centre will start to work its way up to the roof, which will accommodate a souvenir shop and catering facilities, among other functionalities. Its grand opening is set for early September, after which the current ‘Molenhoek’ souvenir shop will be demolished.
All of these adjustments are necessary to keep up with increasing tourist flows, keeping them well coordinated as we grow. Soon all groups will enter from the Overwaard side of the premises. Individual visitors can simply walk or cycle onto the World Heritage grounds on the Nederwaard side. Overall investments amount to a sum total of approximately 9 million euros.