Love Venice? Come to Giethoorn, in The Netherlands!
By Tim van der Pas, 19 July 2017
Giethoorn is a charming village in the north of Holland. Most of the village is car-free and it only consists of waterways and narrow walking paths. Ninety kilometres of waterways replace the roads. That’s why they call it, fittingly, the ‘Venice of the Netherlands’ or the ‘Venice of the North’.
Everything moves slower in Giethoorn, from the boats that move along at a snail’s pace to the elderly residents (they really move slow!) that wave to passers-by. Giethoorn is a serene village. You have water, boats, sun (only in the summer) and chirping birds. Only a seagull (who will swoop down to grab a bite from the sandwich of an unsuspecting tourist) and the symphony of ducks quacking may disrupt your peace. But overall, the pace is exceedingly chill in this idyllic fairyland.
Instead of a pigeon-filled, tourist-clogged main square, Giethoorn offers a laid-back waterfront. Next to that, and more important, the village won a place on the board of the international edition of Monopoly! This is the most important thing, as I would like to believe the residents.
In Giethoorn, there are more than 150 steep bridges connecting the houses with the main walking path. So, if you are over 150cm this may not be the ideal place for you. That’s why about 200.000 Chinese people visit and like this place every year .
Fun fact: even the village postman delivers mail via boat!
The best way, and I think the only way, to discover this beautiful town is of course… by foot. No, just joking, by boat. You can rent your own boat (be careful! They are slow) or a boat with a captain. Or maybe if you are nice you can ride with the postman. For the sportier types the village offers the possibility for ‘suppen’ which is stand up paddle boarding.
This town first was called “Geytenhorn” (horn of goats), later corrupted to “Geythorn” which later became Giethoorn. It was named after hundreds of goat horns (gietehorens) that were discovered in its marshlands—remnants of a 10th-century flood.
One thing you must see is Giethoon at night. In the evening, you can go for a moonlight cruise. It’s absolutely beautiful to see this charming village by nightfall. But look out! This idyllic place was actually founded by outlaws and mercenaries.
Now back to Venice. Giethoorn really is like Venice but only designed by hobbits. It may not be the real Venice, but it makes Italy’s river city look like a crass metropolis.
What do you think about Giethoorn? Is it on your bucket list? Please leave your comments below.