Total donations: $102,000 | Partnership: since 2005
Kinderdijk is made up of 19 historic, well-preserved windmills, which became protected by UNESCO in 1997.
Kinderdijk takes its name from a 16th-century legend involving a baby (or kinder), a cradle, and a cat that all survived being tossed into raging waters. For centuries, the Dutch were at the mercy of frequent floods. Around 1740, 19 windmills were built in the village of Kinderdijk, innovative structures that drain the excess water from polders—the reclaimed land that is situated below sea level—and pump it into nearby rivers and canals. This helps to evenly distribute water levels and lessen the threat of devastating floods. Nowadays, modern engines do the job of turning the paddle wheels, forcing them to scoop up the water, yet the country still has a unique bond with, and affection for, its many windmills.
The Blokker windmill visited by Grand Circle travelers is the oldest, and funding from Grand Circle Foundation has helped restore the surrounding area to its original state, continue a children’s educational program teaching local school children about life as a miller, mill operation and the establishment of an interactive vegetable garden.