A scenic, breathtakingly beautiful place with no roads or cars-unbelievable isn’t it? Fictional though it sounds, but such a place does exist. Take a tour with Aarttee Kaul Dhar to Geithoorn, the Venice of the north, in Holland. 

 

Giethoorn is a village in the Dutch province of Overijssel, located in the municipality of Steenwijkerland, about 5 kms southwest of Steenwijk. A lovely and beautiful blessed place, it exists in the middle of the nature reserve De Wieden, the area is called Waterreijk. Giethoorn was founded by a group of fugitives who came around 1230 from regions bordering the Mediterranean. The story began when the huge and big flood destroyed this town, after which the first inhabitants found masses of horns of wild goats, which had probably died in 1170 during the flood. They called their settlement Geytenhorn (geit = goat), ultimately becoming Giethoorn.

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Its history goes back to around 1200 when Franciscan monks settled in the area. Giethoorn was founded by fugitives from the Mediterranean region in around AD 1230. Giethoorn was a separate municipality until 1973, when it became part of Brederwiede. In the marshy lands of this locality, 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. Giethoorn is located at the edge of a national park (Weerribben-Wieden), a beautiful area.

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The village is home to less than 3000 people, most of them live on their private islands. The 180 bridges are the only way to reach many houses, other than by boat.
In winters Giethoorn is a very popular destination for ice skaters on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The peat digging here led to the formation of large and small lakes. To transport the peat ditches canals were excavated. Many houses are as it were built on little islands, reached through a high bridge, making Giethoorn’s beauty unequalled anywhere else. It used to be a carefree town known in the Netherlands as the ‘Venice of the North’. Some people called Giethoorn the Venice of Holland. These wooden bridges make it a peculiar and unique place; hence tourists and travellers flock to it. The sunsets and sunrises, the green stretches and the rural landscape make it a travellers’ delight!

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Farm houses and beautiful gardens and also canals, in the center of the town make it unbelievably idyllic. You travel by boats and actually row your way to the destination. It came to prominence after 1958, when the Dutch film maker Bert Haanstra made his famous comedy Fanfare there, making Giethoorn an internationally well-known tourist attraction in the Netherlands. In the old part of the village, there were no roads though at present there is a cycling path, and all transport was done by water over one of the many canals. You can imagine the blue sky up in this town, inhaling fresh air. This town is very clean and very fresh. What is more enthusiastic and can reflect the real heaven besides the green town. There are guided canal tours with the big boat or rent a boat yourself for more flexibility, go canoeing in the rustic village or find the peace and silence in the natural environment of De Wieden. Sailing, walking, biking for everyone, is allowed. Take your time to explore it with more than 150 bridges and enjoy the beautiful and peaceful atmosphere.

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Getting there is easy. From Amsterdam International Schipoll which is the main international airport you can travel to Giethoorn by train, bus or car. Giethoorn lies central in the Netherlands. The distance by road is just 95kms. There are buses and coaches plying too along with trains hence it is very well connected. So pack your bags and head there. Thank us later.