UNESCO World Heritage

For nearly a thousand years, the Dutch have been clever in dealing with the water that surrounds them. The sustainable blend of nature and technology used to keep Kinderdijk dry is so uniquely valuable that the area and its windmills were granted UNESCO World Heritage status. From now on, the whole world can come by to experience what we have achieved here!

Kinderdijk has been UNESCO World Heritage since 1997

You won’t find a windmill complex like Kinderdijk anywhere else in the world. The ingenious system of windmills and pumping stations has been keeping the soil dry here for centuries now, in a constant struggle between human brains and the power of the water.Visitors come from all across the world to experience this unique piece of history for themselves. Since Kinderdijk is a monument to the history of humankind, we were officially included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Now, we stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the most famous and most amazing places on earth. The story of Kinderdijk is now a genuine part of world history, kept safe for future generations to visit and experience.


In UNESCO’s words

The outstanding contribution made by the people of the Netherlands to the technology of handling water is admirably demonstrated by the installations in the Kinderdijk-Elshout area. Construction of hydraulic works for the drainage of land for agriculture and settlement began in the Middle Ages and have continued uninterruptedly to the present day. The site illustrates all the typical features associated with this technology – dykes, reservoirs, pumping stations, administrative buildings and a series of beautifully preserved windmills.

De Overwaard van UNESCO Werelderfgoed Kinderdijk

The Netherlands looks back on a proud and ancient tradition of working together with the water. Like much of the rest of our country, Kinderdijk lies below sea level. If we would let nature run its course here, some 26 % of the Netherlands would be flooded, and 60% would be under threat from the waters! Throughout the ages, the people who lived in these areas had to come up with clever solutions to stave off disasters.



We treat our water with respect and common sense, because we can’t do without it!

The Dutch have always relied on the water, for all sorts of purposes including agriculture, trade, and transport. That is why we have spent centuries finding sensible and respectful ways of dealing with all of this water. Our dykes and windmills are world-famous for a reason. Now that our climate is changing and sea levels will keep rising, more and more people realise that our aquatic tradition is an important chapter in the story of humankind. It’s high time to come and visit then, so you can experience your own adventure as you walk among the age-old windmills of Kinderdijk!

How does something become World Heritage?

From heritage to World Heritage is a long process and can take up to 15 years. And the procedure remains exciting until the end. On the poster of World Heritage Netherlands you can see exactly which steps are being taken.

Thirtheen Dutch World Heritage Sites

Besides Kinderdijk, the Netherlands has eleven other World Heritage Sites: Schokland and surroundings, Willemstad Curaçao, ir. D.F. Woudagemaal, Droogmakerij de Beemster, Rietveld Schröder House, Wadden Sea, Amsterdam Canal ring, the Van Nelle Factory, the Dutch Water Defence Lines, Colonies of Benevolence, the Frontiers of the Roman Empire – The Lower German Limes, and the Royal Eise Eisinga Planetarium.