Sightseeing, Western Europe

Giethoorn – The city on Water

Giethoorn is a small Dutch village with about 2,600 inhabitants. But even so, it’s definitely one of the most amazing places in Western Europe – it’s practically built on water. In Giethoorn, it’s easier to travel by boat than by foot or bike, and there are over 180 bridges!

The village became famous in 1958, when the Dutch film maker Bert Haanstra made his famous comedy Fanfare there. Back in the day, there were no roads in the old part of town, and transport was done exclusively on water – through the canals. Today, you often read that it still has no roads, though that’s not true. But that doesn’t strip Giethoorn of its charm!

Interestingly enough, Giethoorn was founded by fugitives from the Mediterranean region in around AD 1230. The name originates from the first inhabitants’ discovery of hundreds of goat horns (gietehorens) in the marshland, remnants of a huge 110th-century flood.

There are three canal-side museums to visit and the Schreur shipyard, where the Giethoorn punt is built. It’s a very rustic setting, and renting an electric bike can make for an amazing day. Footpaths beside the canals are also a good idea, and there’s a fine selection of cafes and restaurants. Every building has its own story to tell!

You can also rent an inflatable ball, and after you are positioned inside of the big transparent ball, you can literally walk on water … or float. I guess it depends on how you look at it.

From what I could find, there are also three museums in Giethoorn – Museum de Oude Aarde (a collection of gemstones and minerals), the “Het Olde Maat Uus” (where you can see and experience how a typical farmhouse in Giethoorn looked like a century ago) and The Histomobil (a museum for old cars, motorcycles and carriages).

Getting to Giethoorn is pretty easy – the Netherlands is a very small country. You need to get to Zwolle, which is about a 90 minute drive from Amsteredam.

Image sources: Your Amazing Places, Wikipedia


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