The True Windy City
Trip Start May 05, 2010
40Trip End Aug 17, 2010
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Today we visited Kinderdijk, a collection of 19 windmills deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997. The place was absolutely perfect. The morning began with two excellent lectures by two members of the Rivierenland Waterboard. For those not following the USF blog (email me and I can email the link...), waterboards are actually the oldest form of democratic government in The Netherlands, dating back to the 13th century. They basically handle the maintenance of levees and canals on a local level, enforcing the national and provincial standards. They focus mainly on surface water and flood protection. There used to be over 3,000 waterboards, but have been consolidated to 26 over the past few decades. The waterboards are elected, have the right to raise taxes, and are almost self supporting. The ability to control their own funds is key, as that means money will never be diverted from flood protection to other uses, such as private jets or bridges to nowhere
Anyway, on our YouTube Channel are a couple interviews with the gentlemen who gave the lectures.... the link to it is at the top of the school blog, or I can email it out to who's interested.
Basically, these windmills are no longer used (they were replaced by the Archimedes pump shown in the video, which is much more efficient) but they do still work. There was a movement in the 30s to tear them down (much like most had been throughout the country), but someone recognized the cultural value and decided to keep them. This worked out well because during WWII, the Germans cut off diesel fuel supply, so the windmills were essential to keep the area dry. A note to all you pack rats out there.....