Giethoorn – Fairytale Village Without Roads
The village Giethoorn, in the Netherlands, is famous for its most unique feature — you won’t find any cars or buses, or indeed any kind of modern transportation here at all. This idyllic small town, once known as the ’Venice of the Netherlands’, has no roads, only canals. Thus travelling by boat is the main way to get around the village and the surrounding rustic area, with its unique atmosphere of silence, relaxation and comfort. Filled with peace, Giethoorn lives its own unhurried life.
The village was founded in 1230 by a group of refugees from the south, who come across the area in search of a new settlement. When they first arrived here, they were amazed by the huge number of goat horns that were left over after a big flood. That is why the place was named Giethoorn, which means ’the horn of goats.’
Over the years, the inhabitants found numerous peat deposits. Pleased with their discovery, the settlers dug for peat in the areas that suited them the most, and consequently left holes in the ground.
As time passed, these holes turned into lakes, and then into the chain of canals we see today, which have helped make the village a major tourist attraction.
With plenty of reeds available in this marshy area, almost all the houses have thatched roofs. In earlier times, only rich people could afford tiled roofs. Today, the exact opposite is true — a thatched roof is more expensive. Giethoorn became famous in the 1960s thanks to the Dutch director Bert Haanstra, who used it as a location in one of his movies.
All-purpose boats, inflatable boats, small boats for rent — all of these are common ways to navigate and get around the village. And here’s another interesting detail: only electric motors are used in boats here — no diesel engines are allowed.
Tourists have to leave their cars outside of the village and travel here by foot or boat by . So you can probably imagine how peaceful it is here (well, when it isn’t flooded with tourists, of course)… Even the village’s website says that “the loudest sound you can normally hear is the quacking of a duck or the noise made by other birds”. It’s like something out of a storybook.