With skepticism, Magrit and I visited the windmills of Kinderdijk last April on a photo-scouting trip for a potential tour offering in 2020. Windmills are what come to mind immediately when one thinks of the Netherlands and we were concerned that they would simply be too much of a cliché to photograph.
We are happy to report that our doubts promptly vanished as soon as we arrived at Kinderdijk and that this turned out to be one of our favorite photoshoots in 2019. We are now very excited to be offering a tour to the Netherlands in 2020, April 15-24.
This place is amazing and actually not overrun with the hordes of tourists that we were expecting. The windmills themselves are beautiful enormous structures, stoic sentinels from a gone-by era. Of the 10,000 original windmills, over 1,000 are still standing and most of them still work. Many are over 250-years-old. These windmills were used to pump water out of the lowlands and back into the rivers beyond the dikes so that the land could be farmed and would not flood. There were also mustard mills, hemp mills, grain mills, snuff mills, cocoa mills, oil mills, chalk mills, paint mills, and sawmills. Nowadays, many farmers are installing modern windmills that convert wind into electric power which can then also be used to irrigate fields.
We arrived late in the afternoon to take advantage of the warm afternoon light and stayed until after dark, photographing with long exposures of up to 30 seconds. When we finally got back to the parking lot and our car, we realized that we were the last souls around. Our enthusiasm for photography often finds us “closing down the joint.”
Kinderdijk features 19 stately windmills making it the largest concentration in the Netherlands. It is easily accessible from Rotterdam and Delft where we will be staying during our 2020 photo tour.
We strongly recommend a tripod to take advantage of the wonderful low light compositions. We were still getting great images long after the sun went down.
We also suggest bringing solid neutral density filters. I always travel with 6 & 10 stop ND (neutral density) filters. These are especially useful here during the daytime to allow you to get long exposures on a tripod. Using these filters will smooth out the water giving your photos a dreamy appearance.
We still have limited space available on our Netherlands Photo Tour in 2020.
In addition to 3 nights in Delft, we will also spend 4 nights in Zaandam and 2 nights in Leiden. These locations will allow us to easily visit Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the Keukenhof Flower Gardens, Haarlem, Delfshaven, Maassluis, Zaanse Schans (a 250-year-old windmill park and fascinating open-air museum), Beemster, Edam, Volendam, Marken and of course, Kinderdijk.
We would love to have you along. Click here to secure your spot. »
Jim & Magrit