Monday, July 20, 2015

Kinderdijk, A Dutch Painting

A few weeks ago, I traveled to the Netherlands to visit my cousin who studies and lives in Tilburg. It was a one week trip, so we had plenty of time to visit the region. I have been to the Netherlands on several occasions as my aunt and close friends live there. However, I have only been to the cities (Amsterdam, Le Hague, Delft...). This time I wanted something different, away from the city rush, a different landscape... To initiate my trip in a different way, I chose to get there by train, from Munich to Tilburg. It was a long journey which I spent reading my book (The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón), listening some music and delving into my travel guides. There, in one of them, I saw Kinderdijk mentioned as a Unesco World Heritage site since 1997 which located very close to Rotterdam. I wrote it down.

Kinderdijk is Dutch for ‘Children dike’. According to the legend, in 1421, when the area was flooded, it was only after the storm subsided that someone saw a wooden cradle floating on the water. When he came closer he saw a cat who was trying to keep the cradle afloat by jumping back and forth. When the cradle approached to the dry land of the dike, the locals discovered a 
baby inside, hence named the place 'Kinderdijk'.

We arrived to Kinderdijk on a sunny afternoon with my cousin, who was equally motivated to visit this place after I told her about it, after a combination of local train and buses. We descended from the bus and walked towards the entrance of the village. A series of windmills appeared below the road as we approached. It was an outstanding view, like a Dutch painting that you may see in Rijksmuseum, and we were both stunned.

We hopped on the water bus that was about to leave and made a tour through the various dykes and canals. It was so calm and gorgeous. There are 19 well-maintained, picturesque windmills in the area. They were built in the 18th century to pump out the redundant water from the polder through the channels and make the land usable for agriculture. Today, it is the only place in the world where the concentration of the windmills are the largest, and one of the unique sights of the Dutch landscape where the eighteenth century has not yet been served its eviction notice. We were astonished. 'Magic' was probably the best word to describe our day.

No comments:

Post a Comment