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Mill Network at Kinderdijk

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    Cultural Heritage Site Mill network at Kinderdijk, the Netherlands


    Picture; Wiers, F. (30 August 2010) Holland on the world heritagelist


    Importance for the nation

    The windmills form an icon for the Dutch society as well as the landscape which is characterized by long thin strip fields of land enclosed by water, therefore preservation for the Dutch society as well as for tourism purposes is important as being a unique land feature. Since the year 1997 the mill network Kinderdijk has become a UNESCO heritage site. The mill network at Kinderdijk is located nearby Rotterdam, by boat it takes only 35 minutes travel distance from Rotterdam.

    By the use of windmills and pumping stations water was drained from the Alblasserwaard, which was filled with water which became land, into the river Lek. Afterwards, the river brings the water into the sea (Kinderdijk website). The land Alblasserwaard is enclosed by dikes to prevent the water from the sea and rivers to float back into the land. This special system for water management is the only one in the world at a single location. Although the mills went out of use in the late 1940s the currenty 19 windmills are still in operating condition facing each other in two opposite rows. Next to the mills there are dikes, reservoirs, pumping stations, administrative buildings and pumping stations which where originally steam driven and later on diesel.


    Managerial issues

    The Netherlands is located below seal-level, through preventing the water to overtake the land there has been a battle against water for more than six thousand years till the present day. Without this constant battle more than half of the Netherlands would be submerged or it would be subject to periodic inundation (UNESCOa, 2013, p. 260). This longitude battle below sea-level is more in danger due to the climate change, CO2 emissions and natural change of the climate causes a rise of sea level. This is a serious threat for the mill network Kinderdijk. Additionally, as stated in the periodic report of the mill complex by UNESCO (b,2013, p.2) the ground transport infrastructure is noted as an ongoing negative factor of the heritage site, a time frame of two years was given to solve this problem. The world heritage foundation Kinderdijk (local) and the water board Rivierenland (province) have the lead in solving the problem. The managerial impact is not very significant due to the option to use the water transport infrastructure which is a good other option for visiting the site. Due to the high density of the Netherlands, it is hard to improve the ground infrastructure.

    Next to this the local temperature conditions is sporadically humid which affects the windmill s construction, a university project is trying to research and find solutions (UNESCOb, 2013, p.3). The time frame for researching alternative solutions to solve this current negative impact was the year 2013 and 2014.


    Organisational structure

    The leading agencies in organising the cultural heritage site on behalf of preservation and responsible for the tourism development are: UNESCO, the province of Zuid-Holland and the Ministry of Culture / National Office of Cultural Heritage (Stichting werelderfgoed kinderdijk, 2013).

    UNESCO operates on a worldwide level, it develops an education and regional vision for the site, a management plan is made to indicate the way of ensuring the conservation of the World Heritage for the future. This organisation is an important player as being a UNESCO heritage site for international awareness. Through this status, a huge publicity is made, UNESCO sites are popular for especially international tourists to visit the place. The Ministry of Culture operates on a national level, under the National Office of Cultural Heritage department. This department contributes to the know-how for realising goals. By creating a management plan for specific heritage sites which is in line with the overall development plan of the nation on behalf of Cultural Heritage. The Ministry of Culture is also responsible for communicating with the nations heritage sites and with UNESCO, for example, the management plan needs to be in line with the nations development plan as well as based on the principles of UNESCO cultural tangible heritage sites. The third important player for the 'Kinderdijksite' is the Province Zuid-Holland. The province recognizes the World Heritage Kinderdijk as an icon for tourism development, amongst others through the UNESCO title and the Ministry of Culture giving high priority in managing of UNESCO sites. The Province contributes through investing and by bringing several parties together for the achievement of the goals.


    Kinderdijk official website (2014) UNESCO World Heritage: Windmills of Kinderdijk retrieved at 17-11-2014 from

    Stichting werelderfgoed kinderdijk (28-11-2013) Begroting 2014 op eigen benen staan (action plan), retrieved at 30- 11-2014 from

    UNESCOa (May 17, 2013) World Heritage 37thsession convention (online) retrieved at 15thnovember 2014 from

    UNESCOb (May 26, 2014)Periodic Report Second Cycle Mill network at Kinderdijk- Elshout retrieved at 15-11-2014 from

    Wiers, Floriene (August 30, 2010) Nederland op de werelderfgoedlijst,retrieved at 15-11-2014 from

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    Comments (2)

    Viewing 2 of 2 comments: view all
    You have not mentioned any tourism organisations or firms taking care of the tourism development, who has being doing all the job in running the place and creating the summer tourism opportunities, how all this came about??? Best, Albina

    P.S. If you use several sources from the same author (in your case UNESCo), than you have to apply a,b,c...concept like UNESCOa,2014; UNESCOb, 2014. Just a comment for you to utilise in the future. A
    Posted 23:05, 21 Nov 2014
    Thank you Albina for your feedback, I answerd your questions in the file, on the title "organisational structure". Concerning the referencing, I also changed that, thanks.
    Posted 19:36, 30 Nov 2014
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