Very high on my Bucket List of Glory (TM) was to go out for a day, be a total tourist in my own country and visit the city of Giethoorn. I know, I’m a total nerd for doing it, but SWEET BABY JESUS, it is NICE!
The small village in the far north west of the province of Overijssel is being called the Venice of the North. Knowing the region a little bit, and distrusting the marketeers who came up with that nickname, I went there with a healthy dose of scepticism, oh, and also my parents, my girlfriend and her mom.
On your way can’t possibly know what is going on in the centre: the village itself seems very normal. After you’ve parked your car on a random field and walk to the center, though, things start to change a little.
View from the boat. Water’s very shallow, probably only a meter deep
Beautiful houses at the Grand Canal. Wouldn’t want to live there though with all the tourist going by forever.
Another little house. The thing with beautiful things always is: it’s probably nicer to live on the ugly side and see the pretty side than to live in the pretty building and have a view of the ugly stuff.
Picture taken during my attempt to overtake the boat ahead. Failed miserably, we had the slowest boat in the village (on earth).
You quickly realise that these Chinese people with their big cameras aren’t here without a reason: they are here on a mission. Quite recently, Giethoorn made big headlines here in the Dutch newspapers when was announced they have a spot on the International Monopoly board. No Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht or Den Haag, Giethoorn represents our country. Well played, Giethoorn!
After walking around for a bit on the shore, next to the canals, we quickly decided that the real fun was to be found on the water. Although the main canal (or ‘Grand Canal’, as the Giethoorn’ers like to call it) was literally filled with little boats fighting over track position, there were still some available and it wasn’t before long until Captain Jesper took charge of his ship and entered the big waters.
After some 10 minutes of slow, jammed water traffic we reached a lull in the flow, things quieted down a lot and we got to enjoy the beautiful sights from the water. What a magnificent place this is, I can’t believe I have never been here before! The houses and their gardens are incredibly cute. Sometimes you see some people working in the garden, minding their own business and not paying attention to what is going on on the water.
Exit Grand Canal, enter big (small) lake
All alone in the water, no wind and the sun burning our faces. Giethoorn is truly wonderful.
After boating (is that a verb? if not, I’m claiming it) through the canals we reached the big lake behind the village, the Weerribben Wieden. Here the captain anchored the boat, while his mom took the sandwiches and fresh fruit out of the bag and we had a delicious lunch in the sun while floating on the water. It was magnificent.
We crossed the lake and entered the natuurgebied, which was heavenly quiet.
As mentioned before, the boat we were in was slowest of them all. Here is a picture of the moment where the boats (9 in total) I managed to keep behind me finally found a way through.
Lots of wildlife along the route. This cow’s not too impressed by my presence or photo skills.
Love this picture! It is shot from a small tower where you can overlook the entire area. I especially like how the little boats all follow each other into the end of the canal in the middle left of the photo.
Back in the village, right after I successfully captained the boat for 2+ hours before having a massive crash in the very last corner, haha. Boat didn’t sink, so doesn’t really count.
The shear tranquility and beauty the area breathes is unlike anything I’ve ever seen here in the Hollandland. I always wanted to go, but never went to Giethoorn until now.
It might seem that I’m getting paid to write for Giethoorn but I promise you: I’m not and you should leave the house and go there right now. Why are you still reading?! Get away from your screen and get yourself a boat!
Giethoorn immediately became my favourite thing here in The Netherlands. What is your favourite place here?
Take care guys, see you soon!
Jesper from This is Travel Viking
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