One third of The Netherlands is below sea-level. In order to make the land livable, the Dutch had to work together and get creative. The area of Kinderdijk is a working example on how this was accomplished over the centuries.
Originally a large peat bog, in the 13th century a system of watercourses, ditches, and sluices was built to drain the water. However, the area was still prone to flooding.
It wasn’t until the 18th century the windmills of Kinderdijk were installed to manage the water. Who else thought windmills were just for milling grain?
From there, various pumping stations, from steam to electricity, were added to manage the job. You can visit these pumping stations, in addition to the windmills.
Today, the windmills remain in place as artifacts of history and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. However, they are not just for show. The 19 remaining windmills are kept in working order as an integral part of the area’s flood management contingency plans. In case of power outages, or fuel shortages, etc.
What you may find most fascinating, Kinderdijk is actually a village, not just an attraction. People volunteer to live in the windmills and maintain them.