This May, Jonas and I got out our backpacks and took on a bicycle journey around the Netherlands. I had absolutely no expectations. I heard that Holland was completely flat and we could easily fly on our bikes to wherever we wanted to go. I picked up some tips from fellow travellers and mapped out a week long cycle route to some of Holland’s most iconic sites – windmills and all!
Wow. Just wow. The Netherlands completely blew us away. From the gorgeous back streets and canals of Amsterdam to the romantic tulip fields of Lisse, we fell in love with Holland over and over again as we cycled through the picturesque countryside.
But you’re here for the famous Dutch windmills. And it’s true that no trip to the Netherlands is complete without seeing one of these iconic windmills. From the thousands of windmills throughout Holland, these are the five most famous and where to find them.
Kinderdijk, UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Kinderdijk is home to 19 beautiful windmills built around 1740. It is an UNESCO World Heritage site that symbolises Dutch water management for over 1000 years.
How to get there: Kinderdijk is a short trip just outside of Rotterdam by public transport, car or bike
The Zaanse Schans
The Zaanse Schans was one of our highlights of our trip to the Netherlands because of its picturesque scenery and rich history. During the 17th century, the Zaans Schans was made up of 600 windmills effectively making up the world’s first industrial area. In fact, Napoleon visited the Zaans Schans and is said to have described it as “unique in its kind”.
The surrounding region is home to authentic houses and small workshops or factories. Visitors can go inside the windmills and watch them grind spices, product paint, saw wood and make oil (we went into the linseed oil producing windmill).
Needless to say, it is a major tourist attraction for good reason!
How to get there: Zaanse Schans makes for a great day trip from Amsterdam. 30 minutes by public transport of 1 hour by bike.
The Windmills of Schiedam
Schiedam is home to the largest windmills in the world. These 33 meter giants are a site to behold. ‘De Nieuwe Palmboom’ (The New Palm Tree) is windmill x museum where you can learn about the history of the windmills of Schiedam.
How to get here: De Palmboom is 20 minutes by public transport or 20 minutes by bicycle from Rotterdam
Molen de Adriaan
Molen de Adriaan is a windmill situated right in the heart of Haarlem, on the scenic Spaarne River. This is one of the prettiest windmills you will find in Holland!
How to get here: Molen de Adriaan is a windmill in the heart of Haarlem, easily accessed by bike, bus or foot
Molen de Gooyer (Windmill x Brewery)
Molen de Gooyer is the tallest wooden windmill in Holland right in the city of Amsterdam. For most visitors to Holland, this is an easy windmill to make a trip to! Not to mention, the windmill sits right next to a modern brewery – Brouwerij ‘t IJ – that runs short tours and offers flights of beers! Can’t imagine a better combo.
How to get here: Molen de Gooyer is located right in the Eastern part of Amsterdam