Kinderdijk Off The Beaten Path

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    by mvtouring
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by mvtouring
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    by RoyJava

Best Rated Off The Beaten Path in Kinderdijk

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    Take a look at the dikehouses

    by Pavlik_NL Written Jan 27, 2004

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    People who come here in a rush often forget, but besides the windmills there's also the vilage Kinderdijk itself. It is built along the dikes that protect the "Alblasserwaard" (a polder) from being overfload by either Noord or Lek, two main arms of the riversystem that makes up The Netherlands. Dikehouses are quite typical, with their doors on dike-road-level, but the backgarden in the polderland below. It is like having an entrance at the first floor and a basement where one has sleepingrooms, but still, all rooms have incoming sunlight. Take a closer look and be amazed.

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    Dike & Water Board Overwaart

    by ATLC Updated Nov 18, 2004

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    KINDERDIJK

    On Nov 17th 2004 I visited the Dike & Water Board Overwaart that has existed for centuries.
    Let me explain a little bit about these boards.
    It is an administrative body that falls directly under the Province and is in hierarchy on the same level as the Town or City Councils. The Dyke & Water Board looks after water and roads in a certain region. More specifically the water and roads that are NOT under jurisdiction of the city councils within that region. Water Boards have existed since before the Middle Ages when landowners and farmers got together to organise the maintenance of our below-sea-level land and to fight the water threatening to spill over the land. In practise this means that these boards constantly work on roads, dykes, bridges and the great waterworks (polders and dams) that The Netherlands is famous for.

    The number of Water Boards have diminished from some 500 in the whole country to currently 50. From 1st January 2005 there will be only 27 left. But all their regions have become a lot larger so that no piece of land or water is unattended.

    On the (not-so-good) photo you see a painting with the members of the Dyke & Water Board Over Waart which resides in Kinderdijk.

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    Election of a Dyke & Water Board

    by ATLC Written Nov 18, 2004

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    KINDERDIJK

    Anyone who has any business or personal interest in a certain region, is (up to the current day) eligible to be a candidate for the Dyke & Water Board. You do not need to know anything about water management.
    The only thing the candidate needs to do is collect 10 signatures from people living in that area. Members of a Dyke & Water Board receive around 2000-3000 euro per annum compensation.

    That this is an open door to fraud has come painfully clear during the elections this year (2004). A jobless man from Amsterdam, named Bremer, applied for 5 different Dyke & Water Board positions. He was elected in 4 of them. But he frauded with the signatures. This means that the elections in those 4 regions will have to be done again. These Dyke & Water Boards will try to make him responsible for the extra costs involved (which, so our guide said will be millions of euro's).

    In any case, the rules of elections will be reviewed now and become much more stringent. This is even more important now that there will be only 27 Dyke & Water Boards left in the country, each spanning a much larger region.

    On the photo you see a special cupboard holding various engraved glasses. The custom was that each electe Dyke & Water Board member would submit a uniquely engraved glass with their family name and coat of arms or business logo. Because each of them is unique, they are worth an extraordinary amount of money which makes the insurance fee a hefty one. One should reckon in the hundred thousands of euros.

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    The 'dijkgraaf'

    by ATLC Written Nov 18, 2004

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    KINDERDIJK

    The president of a Dyke & Water Board is called a 'dijkgraaf' which translates to something like 'dyke count' as if he were part of nobility, so to speak.

    Photo is actually a photo of the Overwaart Dyke & Water Board around the 1900s I should think.

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    The goblet

    by ATLC Written Nov 18, 2004

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    KINDERDIJK

    Tucked away in a small wooden cupboard on the wall, is this copper goblet in it's custom made case which can hold a litre wine. The old Dyke & Water Board members had all sorts of customs.
    One was to pass the goblet of wine around to drink.
    Our guide, who spent all his working life at this Dyke & Water Board, told us a hilarious anecdote.

    The one-time Secretary of State Neelie Smit-Kroes once visited the Dyke & Water Board Overwaart and was given the goblet to drink from. She had dressed with quite a deep cleavage that day. It seems that most of the wine disappeared in there!

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    Life at the Dyke & Water Board

    by ATLC Written Nov 18, 2004

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    KINDERDIJK

    Our guide enjoyed telling us all about this place. He started working there at age 25, and he was quite knowledgeable with loads of information which was interesting and entertaining to listen to.

    In the old days, the members of the Dyke & Water Board used to stay over in this building. Because they had to travel a long way for meetings and of course this had been going on centuries before railways and motorised transport.

    The house was tended by a household mistress who would serve a choice of two main courses each day. 300 gram steaks or a pile of fried eel. Our guide really livened up telling about the grand food eaten here.

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    Sleeping at the Dyke & Water Board house

    by ATLC Written Nov 18, 2004

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    KINDERDIJK

    There are about 7 small bedrooms with quite short beds upstairs. Some of them have running water but another few have just the old fashioned water jug and wash basin. It looks quite of another age!
    The view during the day of the 19 Kinderdijk windmills must be spectacular.

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    Finance

    by ATLC Written Nov 18, 2004

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    KINDERDIJK

    The way that Dyke & Water Boards in The Netherlands are financed is a complicated one.
    There are four different kinds of taxes. One for households. Each household pays 3 units per year, indifferent of the number of household members. One person households pay one unit. Then you pay for your land property, the amount depends on how much land you own. And furthermore you pay for any real estate that you own. Now I've mentioned 3 but I cannot remember the fourth. It's a complicated, intricate calculation scheme but it seems to be most fair.
    As I said in a previous tip, the Dyke & Water Boards maintain water management and all roads that do not belong to City Councils.

    On the photo a more recent Dyke & Water Board of the Overwaart (where Kinderdijk, Alblasserwaard, etc. are situated).

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    FREE ENTRANCE

    by RoyJava Updated Oct 24, 2007

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    When you are by car there is a way to watch the windmills of Kinderdijk very very close!

    Just drive to the usual point of view for the Kinderdijk Windmills (by following the "windmills" signs) ... then drive back to the main road along the river Lek.

    Well, if you drive along the river Lek try to find the MOLENKADE.
    When the river Lek is right of you, you have to turn to the left, inland ...
    When the river is left of you, you have to turn to the right!
    See photograph for the street sign ...

    Just follow the road for about 400 metres ...
    That is the MOLENKADE.
    Watch the road which is very narrow.
    Pay respect to the locals who use this road, too!

    And ... enjoy the great views on the windmills!

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    Cow farming

    by mvtouring Written Jul 10, 2009

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    Duh, of course there is going to be lots of cows in the Netherlands. they are know for their cheese!

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