Giethoorn is a fairy-tale village located in the Dutch Province of Overijssel . Described as the Venice of the Netherlands, Giethoorn is a fairy-tale town where streets and streets are replaced by water channels, where no means of transportation other than electric boats enter, and houses are located on islands and islets. I think it’s one of the most amazing places in the world.
Giethoorn, whose name means ‘goat horn’, dates back to the 13th century. Only 2,620 people live in the village, which is made up of farmhouses, canals and bridges that impress. Giethoorn became especially famous after 1958, when Dutch filmmaker Bert Haanstra shot the village in the famous comedy Fanfare.
The sentence ‘The loudest sound you can hear may be the sound of a duck or the sounds of other birds’ on the website of the town, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, explains all this calmness. Although many tourists skip this wonderful part of the Netherlands, Giethoorn and its surroundings are definitely worth a visit.
Giethoorn, who took part in the special series of Monopoly game released in 2015, became a world-renowned place after taking part in the game. The town, which is visited by more than 200 thousand Chinese tourists a year, is a destination that those who come to Amsterdam add to their route. Special tours are also organized to this fairy-tale village, where the interest is increasing day by day.
The village, which had no roads before, could only be reached by boats. As the number of people started to increase, a road was built and a bicycle path was also added. Although there is road access to the village, most of the houses in the village can still be reached only by boats. Even the delivery of mail is carried out by boats called punta.
In Giethoorn, where the use of gasoline-powered boats is prohibited due to both environmental pollution and noise, houses and islands are connected by 180 bridges.
The boots used by the people living in the town to go to work, school or shopping in their daily life are also the favorites of those who want to visit Giethoorn. Vehicles called Whisper Boats operate almost silently.
Those who want to rent these boats are told how to use the engine and a map is given to avoid getting lost in the channels. Another option other than boats is the gondola-like punters. You move forward by pushing this vehicle with the help of a stick. You can also tour the village by renting a bicycle and shop at the souvenir shops.
You can take a walk or take a boat ride among Giethoorn’s fairy-tale houses, which look like they are from a fairy tale book, and you can rent a boat and wander the canals in the town. If you want to sit and just watch the village, you can take a pleasant break at the restaurants and cafes on the shore of the village.
Those who want to visit the town meet different landscapes at different times of the year. Giethoorn, which is a wonderful alternative for those looking for a peaceful and quiet place, lives its best times in the spring months when the flowers start to bloom and the nature starts to color. In addition, the village hosts various events and festivals during the summer months, and the village has a magnificent atmosphere.
In August, the town is flooded with tourists. In winter, with the snowfall, Giethoorn turns into a painting. The canals freeze and turn into ski slopes ready for use by locals and tourists alike. When it comes to places to visit in Giethoorn, not much comes to mind. Still, the village has several museums where you can get an insight into the lives of people of past centuries.
Museum De Oude Aarde, opened by Rene Boissevain in 1969, is one of the must-visit museums in town. The precious stones and minerals that Boissevain collected by traveling to different parts of the world are exhibited in the museum. Every year, new pieces are added to the museum collection run by the Visser Family. The museum is open to visitors between 10.00-18.00 in March-October, and between 10.00-17.00 in November-March.
Mennonite Church, a church founded by Mennonites who were present in Giethoorn about 500 years ago. Mennonites are a sect of Christianity known for its religious rules that reject modern life. The history of the church, located on the main canal, dates back to the 1800s. Giethoorn grew up around this church. Its architecture is considered somewhat peculiar when compared to other churches of the period. It must be interesting to see how families arrive by boat for Sunday mass.
Giethoorn T Olde Maat Uus Museum is a museum displaying the daily life of a typical farmhouse in Giethoorn 100 years ago. The museum, which was opened after an old farmhouse was rebuilt in 1988 and decorated in an old style, is located right across the church. It’s a sight to behold in Giethoorn 100 years ago to give you an idea of what everyday life was like. The museum can be visited from Monday to Saturday.
The Fanfare is Giethoorn’s most famous cafe. This place is very quiet, very calm and very beautiful, ideal for breathing. The popularity of this place is due to the fact that Dutch filmmaker Bert Haanstra shot part of his movie Fanfare in 1958 at the cafe.
Weerribben Wieden National Park is a park surrounding Giethoorn. Every corner of the village is actually a national park. Most canal sightseeing tours offer an extended tour at certain times to delve deeper into nature reserves. There’s more to see as you head to other corners of canals and lakes. Many bike trails run through this national park.
We rented a boat ourselves and toured as a group. My boat ride experience was great. It is not difficult to navigate the canals in a small and easy-to-drive boat. Those who wish can also join boat tours with captain. It is a great solution for families with children, those who are afraid to use their own boat and those who want to escape in rainy weather.
On these tours, the captain tells you the history of the village. This includes how thatched roofs were once a solution for the poor, but today they are a luxury for the rich. If you come across rare birds and animals while walking through the canal, it also introduces them.
It is necessary to stay at least 1 night in order to experience the peaceful atmosphere of Giethoorn, which is mostly visited on a daily basis due to its proximity to Amsterdam. For those who are considering accommodation, Hotel de Harmonie is located on the north side of one of the quietest areas of the town, right next to the canal. For those who do not want to spend a lot of money on the hotel, there are dozens of different rental homes on Airbnb.
How to get to Giethoorn
Giethoorn Village is located in the Dutch province of Overijssel. The village, which is part of the Steenwijkerland Municipality, is located approximately 5 km from Steenwijk in the south-west.
It is 120 km from Giethoorn to Amsterdam and can be reached in approximately 1.5 hours. You can also join the Giethoorn tour programs departing from Amsterdam to go to Giethoorn.
Amsterdam Central Railway Station Giethoorn, which can be reached by changing two or three trains from Amsterdam Centraal, is 114 km from Amsterdam. Depending on the number of trains and the time of departure, it takes between 2 and 3.5 hours to reach the village by train from Amsterdam.
The ring bus, which departs from the train station, drops the passengers at the point that is 10 minutes’ walk from the village. It takes 1.5 hours by private car from Amsterdam to Giethoorn.
Giethoorn , a village you could never imagine existed in the world, is a dream village with its fairytale houses, canals and bridges, away from the eyes of hungry travelers, from which you will not want to wake up. It’s your dream to take a walk along the canal, stand on a wooden bridge and watch the sunset, and take a boat ride among cute thatched farmhouses. This picturesque village should be at the top of your list.