Travel

Welcome to Giethoorn, Holland’s Idyllic Version of Venice

In this day and age, the places that could truly be labeled as “havens of tranquility” are very few and far between. After changing the face of urban areas from all over the world in an attempt to make our lives easier and more comfortable, we have eventually come to the conclusion that industrialization and gentrification are indeed double-edged swords.

Welcome to Giethoorn, Holland's Idyllic Version of Venice
A photo taken in Giethoorn, a small but impressive village situated in the Overijssel region of Holland. What do you think, is this place worthy to be referred to as a “haven of tranquility”?

One of Holland’s many wonders

Welcome to Giethoorn, Holland's Idyllic Version of Venice
Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Having realized just how dangerous the pollution in the big cities can be for both our physical and mental health, our attention has started to shift towards those tranquil little towns in the countryside, where time seems to flow at a slower pace, where people stop to smell the flowers every once in a while, and where locals are always nice to each other.

Giethoorn, a home away from home

Welcome to Giethoorn, Holland's Idyllic Version of Venice
Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas / CC-BY-SA-3.0

The remote village of Giethoorn, which goes by the name of ‘”the Venice of the North” or “the Venice of Holland”, is by far and away one of the most gorgeous spots in Europe, if not the entire world. Here, you can find everything that Venice has to offer, and so much more. As opposed to the Italian city, which is swarming with tourists at all times, the Venice of the Netherlands has managed to retain a cozy, familiar feeling. What we’re trying to say is, you won’t feel like you’re on a city break if you come to Giethoorn, but rather as if you were visiting a relative you’ve always been extremely fond of.

A village forgotten by time

Welcome to Giethoorn, Holland's Idyllic Version of Venice

Not surprisingly, Holland takes great pride in this unique village, and its wonderful canals and over 180 wooden bridges are not the only reasons for that. Giethoorn also boats a great many wonderful houses, the majority of which were built over two hundred years ago. If you don’t find that surprising enough, maybe you’ll change your mind when you hear that these places are in perfect condition and still inhabited. With thatched roofs and little boats “parked” on the canals in front of each house, they make the Venice of Holland a true postcard destination.

Serenity is paramount

Welcome to Giethoorn, Holland's Idyllic Version of Venice
Photo by Hojjat (aka Huji) (IMG_2178 Uploaded by Pieter Kuiper) / CC BY 2.0

Generally, no cars are allowed in this Dutch corner of Paradise, but some exceptions have been made throughout the last years – at the drivers’ own risk, it must be added – for emergencies or other special situations. You’re still in Holland though, so a compromise was made and cycling paths were added, both in new and the old half of the city. However, they are used largely by locals, because tourists are much too keen on travelling from place to place by boat.

Dutch beauty and quirkiness at their finest

Welcome to Giethoorn, Holland's Idyllic Version of Venice
Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Mention tourists and locals actually reminded us of quite a hilarious stat about Giethoorn. Only 2,620 people leave here, but it has been estimated that every single year, up to 200,000 people visited the town. But wait, because this number only refers to the tourists coming from China. In other words, if we were to consider the ones from other countries too, the number would get even bigger, as would the difference between the number of locals and tourists.

Another interesting thing about Giethoorn is the origin of its name. Apparently, the first people to ever inhabit the place noticed that the swampy ground there was full of goat horns – or, as the Dutch call them, “gietehorens”. According to archaeologists, the horns had been buried there since the 10th century, when a disastrous flood killed all the animals in its way.

A piece of advice for potential tourists

Welcome to Giethoorn, Holland's Idyllic Version of Venice
Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas / CC-BY-SA-3.0

The total length of the canals of Giethoorn amounts to 56 miles. Should you ever get the chance to visit this amazing village though, you won’t have to worry about transportation. Dinghies and motorboats are available for rent at virtually every corner. However, if you know you’re prone to getting sick easily and feel like you’d rather just admire the view, you can always rent a bike instead of a boat.

Places where you can hang out

Welcome to Giethoorn, Holland's Idyllic Version of Venice
Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas / CC-BY-SA-3.0

On each side of the main canals in the village you’re going to find a lot of good pubs, cafes and restaurants.The setting is relatively informal and the people are very nice and always ready to help you and even share a story or two with you. The city is also home to three museums documenting its history and there’s obviously a shipyard there too.

A village who lives up to the expectations

Welcome to Giethoorn, Holland's Idyllic Version of Venice
Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas / CC-BY-SA-3.0

The movie Fanfare, directed by Bert Haanstra, was filmed in this location back in 1958. Giethoorn’s popularity levels have been growing ever since, all the pollution-related issues associated with this century leading, once again, to a surge in the Dutch village’s fame.

Giethoorn. Fantastic, isn’t it?

Welcome to Giethoorn, Holland's Idyllic Version of Venice
Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Leaving such info aside, we’re reaching a simple conclusion, namely that you should add Giethoorn to your travel bucket list right away.