I signed up with a company called Accessible Travel Netherlands (thanks for the recommendation, Cory Lee Woodard) to take a private tour of Amsterdam. I told the guide, Roel, I was interested in history, culture, the Red Light District (I had to at least look!), canals…It was fascinating and our guide did a great job. I learned that the narrow, tall houses that are so prominent and unique in Amsterdam are due to the tax structure way back when where canal frontage area was taxed per square foot. This is why the houses are narrow in front and very deep.
Trams and trains are convenient and wheelchair accessible in Amsterdam. I did have to pop a few minor wheelies to get in and out on occasion. The whole country seems pretty flat and easy to roll except for coming on or off a dike. Many, many bicycles are around so I stayed out of the bicycle lanes. I used a freewheel and was very comfortable rolling everywhere. We only spent two days in Amsterdam and moved on to Rotterdam.
Where Amsterdam has incredible historic buildings and beautiful architecture, Rotterdam has some amazing futuristic-looking modern architecture and fewer historic buildings. The port of Rotterdam is supposed to be the biggest in Europe, and we took a worthwhile Spido cruise and checked that out.
But my big interest in Rotterdam was seeing the Kinderdijk UNESCO site and the windmills. As a water engineer myself, I am very interested in dutch water management. And the dutch sure know how to do it! Kinderdijk is incredible. Over 400 years ago, farmers got together and decided they needed more land and set out to dig a canal with wooden shovels. That canal drained water off the land, and they built windmills to pump the water up from a lower basin to a high basin and then let it flow out to a river. 19 of those windmills from over 400 years ago are still there. The whole concept is hard to believe and incredible to see! I am so impressed with Dutch engineering!
We took a 15 minute Uber ride from Rotterdam to Delft. We visited the royal Delft pottery factory which was established in the 1600s and is still going today. They still do the pottery by hand, crafting and painting it. It was really interesting and very easy in a wheelchair.
To get to Kinderdijk from Rotterdam, I caught the number 202 waterbus at the foot of the Erasmus bridge. It was very easy, very easily accessible and in a half hour I was right at the Kinderdijk windmill area.
Hotels: In Amsterdam, I stayed at the Apollo Ramada City Center, Hotel which was excellent. It was right next to a beautiful Rembrandt park that was easy wheeling and had ponds and canals full of coots and other birds. I would definitely recommend it and stay there again.
In Rotterdam, I stayed at EasyHotel City Center. Although the location was very good being right downtown and next to all sorts of cafés and restaurants, the hotel was not very clean and the bed was not very comfortable. The bathroom Had a 4 inch lip that I had to wheelie over every time I went in and out but had grab bars by the toilet and in the shower, plus a shower bench. I would not stay there again though.
Kinderdijk UNESCO site.
Royal Delft pottery factory, Delft, Rotterdam.