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Kinderdijk Windmills

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Kinderdijk is a small village in Alblasserwaard polder, 15 km east of Rotterdam with the largest concentration of old windmills in the world! The 18th century windmills of Kinderdijk are one of the best known tourist sites in the Netherlands and are on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. In Alblasserwaard polder, problems with water became more and more apparent in the 13th century. Large canals, called "weteringen", were dug to get rid of the excess water in the polders. However, the drained soil started setting, while the level of the river rose due to the river's sand deposits. After a few centuries, an additional way to keep the polders dry was required. It was decided to build a series of windmills, with a limited capacity to bridge water level differences, but just able to pump water into a reservoir at an intermediate level between the soil in the polder and the river; the reservoir could be pumped out into the river by other windmills whenever the river level was low enough; the river level has both seasonal and tidal variations. The 19 mills in Kinderdijk kept the low-lying land (below sea level) dry by pumping water into a reservoir when the water had reached a certain level. Nowadays the windmills have been replaced by a power-driven pumping engines but they are very well preserved. They are still operational but of little use for for drainage.
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