KINDERDIJK, Netherlands (AP) — The windmills at Kinderdijk were built in the mid-1700s as a way to clear water from the low-lying landscape of the western Netherlands.
Sometime in the 1950s, the millers and water board members started seeing visitors in sneakers carrying cameras.
The Dutch embraced the visitors and the Kinderdijk windmills have since become one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations while continuing to help manage the Netherlands’ ongoing fight to stay above water.
There are some windmills north of Amsterdam that “were built for the tourists, but we’re a historical site where tourists come, so it’s the other way around,” said Kinderdijk communications manager Peter Paul Klapwijk. “Tourism is a means to uphold our site.”