Canoe Paddle to Kinderdijk, NL

This week’s blog is dedicated to the Apple Service Support Rep. in Ireland who helped me get my Apple products back up and running on our system after having serious router issues this week.   Thanks!!


This past weekend was productive for our canoe paddle kilometers.  We had by the end of the weekend paddled 17 km.  Most of that was our 12 km roundtrip paddle to see the Kinderdijk UNESCO windmills from the water.  The weather was perfect, calm and clear blue sky.  These are the type of days that make visitors think it is always sunny in the Netherlands with beautiful flowers and windmills.  We who live here know better and if you sit inside on a sunny day in this country you might just miss the one day to enjoy it.

We started our paddle from a local boat launch.  Beautiful as far as launches is concerned except there is NO parking!!!  Not on the street, and not in the wonderful sports field location across the street!  The sports fields are for the local teams and for customers of the local restaurant (De Vinkenwaard Rondvaarten) that is located next to the launch.  So, we cheated a bit, we parked in the sport field location after unloading our canoe and promised that we would eat our lunch, once we ended our paddle, at the restaurant.  A bit more expensive, for a free, boat launch than we expected if you include the lunch as the cost of launching the canoe. So I would rate this launch a 3.5 out of 5 for the lack of parking.


We started early 8:30 am and first thing I had to get a picture of the baby coots.

coot chicks

Coot Chicks

The first part of the Alblas River heading towards Kinderdijk was very smooth (like glass).  There were fishing platforms along one side.  Each platform was filled with guys fishing in the river.

Fisherman on the Alblas River

Fisherman on the Alblas River


Under a bridge and into site, came our first windmill.  This one is not part of the UNESCO mills but it was picture perfect.

Windmill on the Alblas River

Windmill on the Alblas River

After the windmill we made our first portage into the canal that leads along the historic UNESCO windmills.  Deserted at this hour of the morning except for the casual local, either fishing or riding their bike somewhere, we heard and were greeted to the silence of the paddle, the sound of the light breeze, reed song birds, and boats rocking gently as they were moored along the river just waiting for the day when their owners would take them out for a ride on the water.

As we got closer to the windmills we heard the sound of a coo coo bird.  It was constant in his song making me think it was like a broken coo coo clock keeping time with our paddle strokes.

Hearing the coo coo bird and still not seeing it.

Hearing the coo coo bird and still not seeing it!

When we got to the end of the canal at Kinderdijk we roped up our canoe at the boat dock. We went inside the Visitor Center to ask if we were ok to tie up at the dock. They told us yes, but…

Tied up at the Kinderdijk Visitor Center

Tied up at the Kinderdijk Visitor Center- See NOTE below!

Note here:  **This dock is used for the Kinderdijk boat tours that run every half and hour, I would not recommend to dock here!**  

What a perfect backdrop

What a perfect backdrop!

We viewed the Visitor Center (free admission) and then walked to what we remembered to be a restaurant to have coffee.  To our surprise it was no longer a full service restaurant!  Now, it is a Souvenir store that also serves coffee.  We sat outside and watched the hundreds of tourists getting off the busses, and Viking Cruise Boats walking towards the windmills. As we sat and drank our coffee and we talked about how much it had changed in the years we had been coming there together as a couple.  My hubby shared stories of how he had fished and skated here as a boy.  He never would have thought then that he would see the crowds of tourists to this simple country site.  All things change with time and marketing was our conclusion at the end of our coffee break.


Map of the Kinderdijk Area

Tour boat at Kinderdijk

Tour Boat at Kinderdijk – May 11, 2018. Do you know any of these people?

Now very crowded with tourists, we picked our way back to the canoe and paddled to a small canoe landing we had seen on our way in.  Found that it was a portage (much easier than the one we took initially) into the adjoining canal that leads back to the Alblas River.  This low canoe launch is also used for crossing between canals for the ice skaters when the canal is frozen.

We paddled our way through a now busy canal full of tour, private and rented boats.  Sharing the waterway is sometimes challenging as not everyone who operates a motorized boat understands or cares about the effects of the motor wake on paddlers.  So we stayed to the side of the river and tried to stay out of the now head wind on our return to the boat launch in Alblasserdam.

Windmill Museum

Windmill Museum

More windmills…


More cyclists watching the windmills…

Bridge linking the canals

Bike Bridge that links the Canals at Kinderdijk

Then quietly we paddled out of the Kinderdijk area and headed back along the river, back pass the fishermen and then finally to the boat launch.  We loaded our canoe on the car and then had lunch at the restaurant.  We watched as several paddlers rent canoes and kayaks from the restaurant and paddled into the Alblas River.

Paddlers in rented canoe at the restaurant on the Alblas River

Paddlers in a rented canoe at the restaurant on the Alblas River


Windmill on Kinderdijk Canal

Windmill on Kinderdijk Canal

Total for this round trip paddle was 12 KM.

Things we saw – coot chicks, ducks with ducklings, sheep, reed birds, heard a coo coo bird, several boats of all sizes and shapes, tourists from the Viking Cruise River Tours, Cyclists.

TIPS : Start early!  This is river is busy at mid-day with motorized boat traffic. Stay on the right if at all possible per boating rules.

Watch out for fishermen and fishing lines.

Snacks, water and sunscreen are important for long paddles.

The wind can change direction and speed quickly here in The Netherlands.  Be prepared for the changing conditions, both physical and mentally.

Kinderdijk early morning

Kinderdijk paddle early morning


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