There are two things I immediately associate with the Netherlands: tulips and windmills. Since I was traveling there in summer, I knew I wouldn’t see tulips, but I did want to see windmills. As many as possible. Which is what lead me to visit Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
I didn’t just see a windmill or two at Kinderdijk. I saw 19! All at once. It was breathtaking.
I could not stop taking pictures. I understand why artists are so enraptured by them and paint these scenes. I went back three times just to gaze at them and wander the main path through the Kinderdijk museum trail and then the more private roads behind that. It was here that I noticed people standing near a doorway and I began to wonder whether people lived inside them.
I finally listened to the lecture that was included in my admission price (6.50 Euro) and learned that 17 of the 19 windmills there are occupied. I was practically drooling with envy. Apparently the rent is pretty low, too. In return for living in one of these remnants of Dutch history, the residents must agree to rotate the blades 6,000 times a year to keep them from rotting. Or was it 60,000? I don’t know. I was scrambling to figure out how I could be one of the lucky few.
Many of the inhabitants had made their yards into beautiful gardens of paradise.
I went inside the windmill museum that was open for tours. I was surprised to find it divided into small rooms among three levels. The top level smelled very smoky; the residue from years of smoking meats. It did nothing to deter me from my windmill-lust. I like tiny spaces! I like smoked meats! I can climb steep, ladder-like stairs!
It was windmill envy to the -nth degree. I did not want to leave Kinderdijk. Ever. I started to feel Quixotic that I had to leave. I was tilting at windmills; those imaginary landlords that were keeping me from having a windmill of my own to call home.
Then I remembered that I had to work the next day. I was only there for a weekend of windmills. But it was enough to fill me with windmill-lust forever.
Would you like to live in one?
For more information on things to do in The Netherlands, visit http://www.netherlands-tourism.com/