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The village of Kinderdijk is located in the Netherlands, about 15 km east of Rotterdam. Kinderdijk is situated in a region called the Alblasserwaard that lies below sea-level. Called polders, these regions are often land reclaimed from a body of water, such as a lake or marshes. After the water is drained out of the water bodies, the ground level subsides over time and eventually all polders sink below the surrounding water level. Water then enters the low-lying polder through water pressure of ground water, or rainfall, which has to be regularly pumped out or drained by opening sluices at low tide. In Kinderdijk, most of the water originates from the rivers Lek and Noord, at the confluence of which the village is located.

To drain the polder, a system of 19 windmills was built between 1738 and 1740. Their purpose was to pump the excess water into a reservoir until the level of the river had fallen enough to pump the water back into river Lek. This group of mills represents the largest concentration of old windmills in the Netherlands, and is today a popular tourist site. They have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.

windmills-of-kinderdijk-1

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© Amusing Planet, 2014.


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