Picturesque Giethoorn, Netherlands


The village of Giethoorn is one of the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands, it is also often called The Venice of the Netherlands because it is situated on water channels, a total length of about 7.5 km.

The village was founded in 1230. To get around the village there is a bike path and numerous water channels

Let’s take a closer look at it …

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The main means of transport are paddle boats and electric motor boats, which run completely silently and do not disturb the peace and tranquility in this picturesque village. Most of the houses are located on islands and connected by wooden bridges (there are more than 50 throughout the village). Githorn – a place so attractive to tourists, as there are almost no ordinary roads and trails, and close to each other all sorts of channels and bridges.

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Soon after, numerous visitors affectionately nicknamed the village “Venice of Holland” or “Venice of the North”. In the historical part of Githorn you, even if you really want to, you will not see a single road, you can only move along the canals and only on special boats or “flatboats” as they are called by locals. The only innovation, which appeared in this part of the village over the years – the bicycle paths.

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Along the canals there are houses, one prettier than the other, along one side of the canal is a narrow asphalt path, sometimes crossing from one bank to the other. It is the only thing you can navigate on foot. No streets in the usual sense of the word. To the houses on the side of the canal that does not have a path, wooden bridges are thrown over, rather humpy, such bridges allow electric boats, the largest watercraft in Githorn, to pass under them. And in general, you navigate the canals in anything – all sorts of boats, you can rent them, inflatable boats. Small boats. All on electric motors, no diesel. Even on bikes, loved in Holland, you can not go for a ride here – you have to dismount in front of each bridge.

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The village of Githorn was founded in 1230 by a small group of refugees from the south of the country. When they found the place, the only thing that struck their eyes was a huge number of goat horns left behind after the great flood. This is where the secret of the village’s name, Goat horns, or “goat horns,” lies. Over time, not only did people change the village’s name to something more euphonious, but they also discovered that the area was full of peat. Excited by this discovery, they began digging up peat wherever they found it most convenient. As a result of such excavations pits appeared, and later they became lakes, and then a chain of channels, which now attracts tourists like a magnet.

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The length of the village Githorn (the Dutch pronounce it Githorn, sometimes so in travel guides) is about 6 km. That’s how 6 km one way and 6 km the other way we went through this beauty. Note that this is a residential village, not an attraction, as the famous Saansehans. You don’t have to pay money for it, unless you decide to rent a boat or take a ride on an electric boat. There are plenty of parking lots in different places, we parked at the southernmost one and walked the entire village from south to north and back. Parking is of course free.

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The village itself has a population of 2620 people. However, the natives believe that the main distinguishing feature of their village is not the canals, and a unique atmosphere of peace and quiet, a complete relaxation. Everything here breathes peace and quiet unhurried life of an ordinary Dutch village of the 18th century. Almost all farms have been preserved in pristine condition and imbued with the spirit of the time. Almost all the houses in the village have thatched roofs-the marshy areas provide plenty of thatch. In the past, only rich people could afford a tile roof and many used thatched roofs, but now it is the opposite, thatched roofs are more expensive.

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Githorn is a fishing town, but you must have a license to do this kind of hunting. Along the canals you can safely see a heron, which is very bold, can look at you, with a begging look to buy her a fish. Along the canals there are different signs, similar to those you can see on the roads of any metropolis, with traffic lights and right-hand traffic.

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The fame of the village happened in the middle of the last century, when director Bert Hanstra filmed his comedy Fanfare here. And in general, the village of Githorn was founded in 1230 by refugees from the south. Now this place is one of the most popular in the Netherlands and is often included in tourist itineraries.

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The main transport are paddle boats and electric boats, which are completely silent and do not disturb the peace and tranquility in this picturesque village. Most of the houses are located on islands and connected by wooden bridges (there are more than 50 throughout the village).

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It is known that the American writer Truman Capote compared Venice to a box of chocolates with liquor, eaten in one sitting. Perhaps if he were to visit the village of Giethoorn, better known as Venice of the Netherlands, a box of goodies would not be enough. Picturesque canals, half a hundred wooden bridges, cozy boats and quaint houses – all this captures the heart of the most sophisticated traveler!

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I will remind you a few more interesting cities: here is a City where everyone has an airplane, and here is a Village at sea. And in China, there is even a skyscraper in the village.

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Githorn – a village without roads.

Lovers of visiting the most unusual places in the world probably will appeal to a remarkable village in the Netherlands – Giethoorn. This is a very small village, notable primarily because it has no streets – it is located in the middle of the water. That is why its second name – the Dutch Venice.

Githorn – a village without roads.

However, the real Venice is submerged in water, as the land on which it is built slowly sinks into the sea. In Githorne, however, it was the villagers’ own fault that each of the houses ended up on its own islet. The fact is that the main occupation of the inhabitants of the village was the extraction of peat. And they dug it where it was most convenient – right in front of the houses. Over time, the peat was produced, pits were left in place, which were gradually filled with water. Thus, even the neighbors had to be reached by boat.

Githorn Village

Of course, the Dutch Venice Githorn became not at once: the village has existed since the 13th century. It was founded by people from the south of the country, fleeing from a major flood.

Now Githorn (Overijssel province, northern part of the Netherlands) has about 2600 inhabitants. It is a quiet and comfortable place, extremely popular with tourists. The village is very picturesque (as well as many other Dutch villages), but the special charm of it gives a lot of bridges (there are more than 170) and people moving on boats. The bridges are quite curved: it was made on purpose, that under them it was convenient to swim.

There are almost no roads here. The only thing that the residents could not deny themselves is the exercise of cycling (as you know, the Dutch do not know how to do without bicycles). Therefore, the village is equipped with trails for cyclists, on which you can move on foot.

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Githorn Village

Transport in Githorn

Nevertheless, the main mode of transport in the village is the boats available in each house. Cars are not used here, but boats of all kinds: rowing, inflatable, motorboats. Some residents have boats, and the largest vehicle – an electric boat. But all without exception, boats only work on electricity: gasoline (even the highest quality), and diesel is prohibited here. As a result, there is almost no noise from the engines, and tourists call these vehicles whispering boats.

Githorn Village

Not far from the village is a large national park. As it should be, there is a church, as well as several museums. Tourists will be shown how the local farmers live (there is a village house-museum in Githorn), told about the peculiarities of ceramic production and show a collection of precious stones.

The history of the village without roads

About the existence of an unusual Dutch village in the world became known in the 60s of XX century. It was made famous by the famous director Bert Hanstra, depicted in the movie comedy “Fanfare”. The beauty of this place is so appealing to people that Githorn soon became a real tourist Mecca.

People come here to enjoy the marvelous scenery and peaceful silence, to experience the atmosphere of the 18th century – almost everything has remained as it was over 200 years ago. Even the roofs of many houses are still covered with thatch, because in the Middle Ages, tile roofing could afford only very wealthy people. Reeds, meanwhile, in the neighborhoods – an abundance, and it goes on the roof. By the way, now houses with thatched roofs are more expensive than tiled, because they are considered a Dutch classic.

Githorn Village

Another feature that immediately attracts the attention of tourists is the abundance of goat horns. They decorate the walls of houses, fences, roofs. The very name of the village – Githorn (Dutch pronounced “Githorn”) – came from the word combination, which means goat horns. There is a legend that the founders of the village, arriving at this place in 1230, the first thing they saw – lying on the ground in large quantities of goat horns. Apparently, in ancient times, the area was flooded, there was a whole herd of goats under water, and the horns are the only thing that could be preserved in the water. Travelers enjoy taking pictures of this local landmark, and even take pictures of themselves against their backdrop.

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Where to stay in Githorn

Despite its small size (the length of the village is only 6 km), in the village there are several hotels (about ten) – so travelers can not hurry to visit everything and see everything at once, and stay in this quiet place for a few days.

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