Giethoorn - The Dutch Village With No Roads
Giethoorn – The Dutch Village With No Roads
This is a unique village in the province of Overijssel in the Netherlands and a wonderful place to spend a few hours. Giethoorn is located at the edge of a national park (Weerribben-Wieden), a beautiful area. There are no roads, and cars have to remain outside the village. The only access to the stunningly lovely houses in Giethoorn is by water or on foot over tiny individual wooden, arched bridges. It truly is idyllic. Known as Venice of the Netherlands for the 7.5km of canals that run through, the 13th-century village has rivers and canals instead of streets. At rush hour, about the only traffic you'll encounter are villagers in push boats, taking their sheep out to pasture. The houses have massive gardens bursting with pink, yellow, and white tulips, and almost everyone sailing by calls out hello.
Giethoorn's history goes back to around 1230 when Franciscan monks settled in the area. In the marsh lands peat was formed and when the settlers started to use the peat, canals were dug for transport. Big areas became lakes, many of them not deeper than three or four feet. All traffic has to go over the water, and this is done in 'whisper-boats' which are driven by an electric motor, so they do not disturb the peace and quiet. You can hire a whisper boat and cruise around the canals. In Gierthoorn and surrounds is a fantastic network of cycle paths, well marked and an ideal activity. The village is home to less than 3000 people and most of them live on their private islands. The around 180 arch bridges are the only way to reach many houses, other than by boat that is. In winter Giethoorn is a very popular destination for ice skaters. In cold enough winters, thousands go to Giethoorn to ice skate on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
HOW TO GET THERE - Giethoorn is an easy 95 km drive northeast of Amsterdam and also serviced by train and bus.