Why Kinderdijk is perfect for amazing windmill-selfies

The Netherlands is famous for a lot of things, such as cheese, tulips, clogs and windmills. Yeah, those were probably the most stereotypical things I could think of, but it’s also what I came to see while road tripping cross-country Netherlands with my man. Well, I already knew I’d be a couple of weeks too late for tulip-season, which means  there’d be a higher probability of winning the lottery than seeing any tulips by now.  And then there’s those famous clogs. Well, to be honest,  I don’t really care that much about clogs.  So I guess that narrows it down a bit. Let’s just talk about windmills for now.

Because windmills are amazing. I mean, they have an amazing effect on me, since I’m not used to them. They turn me into an annoying little child who’s overly excited about everything and goes “wow!”, “LOOK!”, “it’s amazing” every five seconds, and that’s exactly the reason why I followed my guidebook’s advice to visit a village named Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site – which is the ultimate hot spot for windmill-scouting!

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Before going, we didn’t know much about Kinderdijk. We knew there’d be 19 windmills there (dating back to the 18th century) and we knew we’d have the possibility to visit the area either by foot, by bicycle (like a true Dutch) or by canal boat.

When we arrived, the first thing that caught our attention was not the windmills but an air balloon which had crash-landed into the canal. An ambulance, police officers and a rescue-team, including divers, were on site. What a traumatizing experience that must have been for everyone involved. At least they all made it out unharmed (from what I could see).

So what is there to do on site, besides watching air balloons float upside down on the canal? Well, you can rent a bicycle, or go on a sightseeing-tour on the canal, drink coffee and have a snack at the cafe, while admiring the spectacular view of the windmills.

Or just stroll along the footpaths, take photos, walk some more, take more photos.

And that’s exactly what we did. We’d paid for parking for just one hour and a half, and we didn’t wanna waste our time. Our plan was to go hardcore paparazzi on the windmills. Each and every one of them. Well. As many as we could before we had to return to the car to avoid getting a parking ticket.

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With the exception of all the tourists who were doing exactly the same thing as we were doing, Kinderdijk seemed to be a very peaceful village. I would have loved to bring my own bicycle, follow the pathway, get distracted by the beautiful scenery, fall off my bicycle, get back up again, ride a little further, feel overly exhausted and almost vomit, and eventually stop somewhere to have a nice little picnic and fight off flies, wasps, ants and other creatures that can’t resist my food and beverages. Now that would have been lovely!

Sadly, I don’t actually own a bicycle anymore (it got stolen – many years ago).

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“Can you take a picture of me for my Instagram?” I begged my boyfriend, in the most annoying way possible. As much as I love sharing photos on my social media platforms – especially Instagram – I feel like the biggest loser on the planet whenever I have to ask someone to take a picture of me for my Instagram. It makes me feel like I’m some kind of narcissist, and a try-hard wannabe-fashionista (note: I suck at fashion) whose only reason for traveling is to take cringe-worthy photos that pretty much scream “look at me, I’m relevant. The background isn’t”. Yuck. Maybe I am one of those people without even realizing it? Maybe I’ve tricked my mind into thinking I wanted to go to Kinderdijk to photograph windmills, but in reality, I went there only to have photos taken of ME in front of windmills? I’m sure my partner would say I’m semi-narcissistic, and also that we went to Kinderdijk for multiple reasons.

To learn, to see, and to make it a teeny tiny bit about me.

Enough with that selfie-talk.

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Some of the windmills of Kinderdijk can be visited (for a fee of 6,50 euros) and function as museums. If you wanna learn more about the history of windmills in the Netherlands, this is a fun way to do it!

And how do you get to Kinderdijk? 

There are direct trains to Kinderdijk from Utrecht and Rotterdam. If you’re visiting by car, the distance from Amsterdam to Kinderdijk is 98 km (via A2) and 53.9 km from The Hague (via A13).

As previously mentioned, there is parking on-site.

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Cool stuff in the Netherlands: Visit the Alkmaar Cheese Market!

I don’t know about you, but I love cheese. I actually love it so much that I’m sure it’s the main reason why I have my love handles and enormous thighs. Because, not a single day goes by without me eating some kind of cheese at some point of the day.

Last week, my partner and I went road tripping through the Netherlands – and ate A LOT of Dutch Gouda, every single day. We claimed we did it to be cultural, but let’s face it, we’re two fatties who just love everything food-related (and especially cheese).

Being someone who loves to try local specialties when I travel, I am always interested in learning about the traditions, the food culture and participate on local culinary events and celebrations wherever I go. So before going to the Netherlands, we wanted to make sure we wouldn’t miss any kind of event related to Dutch cheese. Because..cheese.

Which is how we ended up visiting Alkmaar for the weekly Alkmaar Cheese Market!

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Uhm.. What exactly is this Cheese Market?

The Cheese Market is the main attraction in town!

From April until the end of September, you can watch the art of cheese trading, according to a tradition which dates back to 1365.

The cheese would be delivered early in the morning, the cheese market masters and traders would then check to see whether the cheeses had been well stacked, and then lots of cheese – something like 30 000 kilos (2200 cheese wheels) would be lined up and ready for purchase.

…And you’ll get to watch all of this at the market!

The most fun part of the cheese market is watching the kaasdragers (cheese porters) identified by their differently colored straw hats, carry the farmers’ cheese on barrows and take them to the weighing house.

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Alright! What else is there to do at the market?

Taste cheese, buy cheese, eat cheese, eat stuff that isn’t cheese, drink beer at one of the nearby terrace bars, buy souvenirs from the artisan market behind the cheese market – or visit the cheese museum. After all this is THE cheese town!

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The Cheese Market sounds awesome! When can I visit?

The Cheese Market takes place from 10 am until 1 pm – every Friday (from March 31st until September 29th). This year there is also an evening market on certain Tuesdays (visit Kaasmarkt.nl for more information)

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I don’t know Alkmaar…How do I get there?

If you’re taking your car, I advise you to park it a bit outside of the main center, or in a parking garage. Street parking can be a bit tricky on busy days like these!

If you’re traveling from Amsterdam by train, there’s a direct connection to Alkmaar from the Amsterdam Central Station (trains depart four times pr hour).

If you’re traveling from Den Helder, Hoorn or Haarlem, there’s also a direct connection to Alkmaar and trains depart twice pr hour.

Shopping for souvenirs?

Pick up a Dutch handmade household item from “the old-fashioned shop”!

BOOM (since 1835) is a family-run traditional shop in the old historic quarter of Alkmaar. For nearly 200 years, this family business has been selling handmade Dutch items including traditional wooden clogs, brushes and ropes in Alkmaar – the cheese capital of the world!

The shop is museum-like and presents timeless Dutch products and good old-fashioned personal service. Loved by locals and tourists alike, this little gem is easy to recognize by its big yellow clog/wooden shoe next to the entrance!

For more information, check out Ouderwetsewinkel.com

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just me being cheesy (oh no, I didn’t just pull that joke, did I?)

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