Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout

UNESCO Molencomplex Kinderdijk-Elshout molens

Kinderdijk’s network of nineteen windmills is a Dutch icon of international fame. The seventeen drainage mills (actually they should be called ‘basin mills') were built between 1738 and 1740, prior to which the area already boasted polder mills (as opposed to the basin mills) of which two remain. These windmills kept the Alblasserwaard region, constantly plagued by subsidence and floods, drained. Later the task of the mills was taken over by pumping stations, first by the Wisboom steam pumping station and later by the diesel-driven JU Smit pumping station and the electrically driven Ir. G.J. Kok pumping station.

Kinderdijk, situated in a polder landscape with watercourses, dykes, pumping stations, sluices and mills, epitomises almost one thousand years of the ‘war against the water’.


The mill network at Kinderdijk-Elshout has been a World Heritage property since 1997.