A couple years ago while driving from Amsterdam to Luxembourg I did what I always do when driving long distances: figured out detours to stretch my legs. I collect UNESCO world heritage sites and noticed one that would be right on my way, a little East of Rotterdam, and soon I was driving along a small road to Kinderdijk, my chosen detour of the day.
Kinderdijk Windmills were built in the 18th century to pump water out of the polder, when Holland was in the process of reclaiming land for farming. Now a more modern system has replaced the windmills in daily use, but they can be still used as a backup. 19 beautiful old windmills adorn the sides of canals, and I really enjoyed taking a short walk among them. There is also a free museum which gave insight into the engineering of the windmills, and a cafe where I got a cup of tea before continuing on my drive.
Kinderdijk is one of Holland’s two famous areas where you can view old windmills. The other one is Zaanse Schans, close to Amsterdam. Both are worth the drive if you enjoy these testaments to the history of Netherlands.
Collecting world heritage sites is both fun and tricky, because you’ll never be finished. This is because UNESCO keeps on inscribing new properties to the list every year, and in this year’s meeting in Bonn, there were altogether 24 new sites added. Here they are:
8 new easily accessible sites to Europe…
Norway: Rjukan-Notodden Industrial Heritage Site
Denmark: Christiansfeld, a Moravian Church Settlement
Denmark: The par force hunting landscape in North Zealand
Germany: Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District with Chilehaus
France: Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars
France: Climats, terroirs of Burgundy
United Kingdom: The Forth Bridge
Italy: Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale
4 sites in the Americas, including a reason to travel to Texas…
Jamaica: Blue and John Crow Mountains
Mexico: Aqueduct of Padre Tembleque Hydraulic System
Uruguay: Fray Bentos Industrial Landscape
USA: San Antonio Missions
7 new wonders in the Middle-East…
…including two in Iran and one in Saudi Arabia. Especially getting to the latter might be hard!
Iran: Cultural Landscape of Maymand
Israel: Necropolis of Bet She’arim
Jordan: Baptism Site “Bethany Beyond the Jordan” (Al-Maghtas)
Saudi Arabia: Rock Art in the Hail Region
Turkey: Diyarbakır Fortress and Hevsel Gardens Cultural Landscape
5 sites old and new in Far East…
China: Tusi Sites
Japan: Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution
South Korea: Baekje Historic Areas
Mongolia: Great Burkhan Khaldun Mountain and its surrounding sacred landscape
Singapore: Botanical Gardens
And what’s the status of my collection now?
With a bunch of new places added to the list, my collection of world heritage sites grew with three new sites. Here they are:
I visited Champagne twice while living in Luxembourg. Once I went to Reims for a weekend to tour the cathedral – also an UNESCO site – and the smaller champagne houses in the area. The other time I visited Avenue de Champagne and the big famous houses as a day trip, and I remember especially well Mercier’s world’s largest champagne barrel and Castellane, the most popular champagne house in France, which is little known abroad, because almost all of its production goes to domestic markets.
I visited Dijon in March this year. I didn’t have time to stop by the vineyards of Burgundy, but since I spent several hours touring the historic old town as well as tasted local wines, I count this at least as a partial visit. The city’s very beautiful and well worth a longer trip thanks to its rich history.
I visited Palermo back in 2005 (or was it 2004?), so my memories are a bit shaky. I remember sitting on the steps of a cathedral, waiting for the siesta to end and for my boat to Naples to leave. Although I must have visited several churches and the palace, I don’t remember making a note of their Arab-Norman architecture, so even though technically-speaking this is mark on my list, I think this place demands a new visit from me.
After this, my total comes up to 105 visited world heritage sites! Only 926 more to go…
Have you been to any of these new world heritage sites? Which one would you like to visit the most?