When holidaying with your dog, there’s frequently occasions when what you want to do, is not what your dog wants to do or is allowed. Such as virtually every time you want to visit a museum or art gallery! But sometimes, the tourist attraction what you want to see also makes for an ideal outing for your dog. One such attraction that I recently visited were the Kinderdijk windmills, near Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Visiting Kinderdjik makes for a great day out with your dog!
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Looking for more dog-friendly sightseeing ideas in the Netherlands? Check out my guide to travelling with a dog in the Netherlands
What is Kinderdijk?
Kinderdijk is a village located near Rotterdam, best known for its iconic 18th-century windmills. If you’ve seen photographs of Dutch windmills, particularly multiple ones close together, it’s probably from Kinderdijk. These windmills are such fine examples of Dutch water management that they’ve even been listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. And it’s very easy to organise visiting Kinderdijk with a dog.
Getting to Kinderdijk
There’s a number of options for getting to Kinderdijk, including driving a car or taking a bus, but the most enjoyable option is to take the Waterbus from the Erasmusbrug wharf in Rotterdam.
Between May and October, a direct waterbus runs every 2nd hour, taking you directly to the entry to Kinderdijk. It takes just 30 minutes and costs €8 return per adult, payable on board. Alternatively, you can also take Waterbus 20 in the direction of Dordrecht, which runs every 30 minutes. Get off at Ridderkerk and transfer onto the connecting ferry, Driehoeksveer, which costs an extra €1.70.
What we liked best about this transport option is that you get to have a scenic trip along the river, seeing more of Rotterdam along the way. Plus, dogs are welcome on board and even travel for free. We took the 10:35am ferry and returned on the 2:03pm ferry, giving us around 3 hours to explore Kinderdijk.
Kinderdijk Entry Costs and Hours
To walk (or cycle) around Kinderdijk, there is no entry charge. In fact, the walking and cycling path are open 24 hours per day. However, there is an entry fee if you want to go inside the two museum windmills and the information centre, including a film.
The entry ticket costs €8 per adult if purchased on site, or else €7.00 if you book online. (There’s plenty of time to do this on the ferry trip out there, then just show the ticket on your phone at the entry.) There’s no charge for dogs.
Make sure you purchase your ticket at the entry to Kinderdijk, not down at the windmills. The opening hours are 9am to 5:30pm for most of the year, 7 days per week, with shorter hours from 11am to 4pm during winter.
Walking around Kinderdijk
The great attraction of visiting Kinderdijk with a dog, is that it’s a lovely walk to do together, walking along the flat path with canals and windmills on either side. If you’re visiting with a dog, you may just want to walk along the path and skip buying the museums ticket.
The main walking path is about 1.5km long from the entry to the second museum windmill. We turned around not long after this windmill, but I think you could keep on going for quite a distance. We saw plenty of other dogs with their owners enjoying the scenic paths.
Boat Tours at Kinderdijk
As well as being able to take a boat trip to Kinderdijk, it’s also possible to take a boat tour on site. There are two options available, one that is a non-stop trip and another that is hop-on, hop-off. They’re particularly good if you’re not wanting to walk the full distance, although I think most dogs would be happiest going for a walk instead. Tickets for either boat are €5.50 per adult, and are available online and or site. Dogs are welcome on board and don’t require a ticket.
Visiting the Museum Windmills with a Dog
The only parts of Kinderdijk where dogs are not allowed are inside the two museum windmills, plus the film room at the information centre. If you’re visiting with a dog, you could skip visiting these. However, I greatly enjoyed the insight they provided into what life was like for the inhabitants of the windmills. And it’s certainly still possible to visit them with a dog, at least if there are two of you.
At both windmill museums, dogs are still allowed on the grounds, past the entry gate. At the first windmill museum, simply take turns to enter the windmill and visit the multiple floors connected by steep stairs. The stairs are more like ladders, and would be very difficult for a dog to negotiate! If there’s a queue (such as when I visited, due to a large tour group), wait for it to subside, or return later. It’s a bit cramped inside when it’s crowded.
The second windmill museum is largely an outdoor space, in which dogs are allowed. The interior of the windmill is just two small rooms on a single level. We actually took our dog inside with us, carrying him in our arms, without any issues. Otherwise, just duck your head inside to check it out.
Lunch & Snack Facilities
If you’re visiting in the middle of the day, like we did, you’re sure to want to have lunch somewhere. Alternatively, if you bring a picnic, there’s plenty of places to sit and eat it throughout the site.
There’s a small cafe at the second museum windmill, serving mainly drinks plus toasties. However, the toasties had already been sold out on the day we visited. Instead, just down the road, we bought some hot dogs off a van that had just set up, for about €2 each. There were also a few other vendors selling Dutch pancakes and ice creams around the site.
Back at the entrance, there was the main cafe next to the ticket booth, selling a slightly larger range of drinks and toasties. There was also another cafe just outside the entrance and a restaurant just down the road, not far from the ferry wharf. All of these eating options had large outdoor terraces that were dog-friendly.
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