Millennium of Water Management in Kinderdijk, Netherlands - Encircle Photos

31 Millennium of Water Management in Kinderdijk, Netherlands

The proverb “Necessity is the mother of invention” aptly applies to Kinderdijk. Generations have discovered new ways to persevere in their struggle to tame 1.25 miles of Alblasserwaard. This low-land peat bog (called a polder) is fed by Lek and Noord rivers. The water has threatened to reclaim their land for over a millennium. The earliest solutions were random canals and dikes. In the 13th century, three cooperative Water Boards were founded to dig a network of waterways plus four sluices. In the mid-18th century, 20 windmills were built. They could collectively pump excess water into the Upper Basin for drainage or store water in the Lower Basin during droughts. Technological advances included two steam-powered pumping stations in 1868 followed by a diesel-powered one in 1924. New, more advance pumping stations were added in 1972, 1995 and 2019. Ironically, many of the 19 windmills are kept functional in case the pumping stations are compromised.


Nederwaard Windmill No.3, 2961 AS Kinderdijk, Netherlands


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