Road Trip to Giethoorn, Netherlands

Some says Giethoorn is the Venice of the North and I have to agree very much. It is a village up in the northern Netherlands and located at the edge of the De Weerribben-Wieden National Park.

So on a Friday morning, I had a road trip to Giethoorn with a few friends of mine. (Sorry Hayley for dumping you at work, but that’s a cool thing for being free man who does need to go to work for the moment).


Our Boat Tour and Wandering Along the Canals

When we got there, we decided to join one of the boat tours operated by the local villagers. It was definitely worth doing it.  Not only did we see many of the interesting sights that cannot be seen on foot, we also got to understand more about the town in a historical and cultural perspective.

Essentially in the 11th century, a bunch of wanted criminals from the Mediterranean came to this place with herds of goat and decided to settle there. From then on the place is known as Giethoorn, which means Goat Horns in Dutch. The villagers built farm houses and canals in the area and turned it into a thriving village. These canals would eventually lead to a massive lake. This means people would have to get around on boats, on bikes or on foot. Cars are pretty much banned in most part of the village.

Venice of the North – most people in village own a boat. Instead of biking to visit their neighbours, they would have to take a boat.
A local boat house

Traditionally, many of the farm houses are built with thatch roofs using the branches of willow trees grown by the lake not too far from the centre of Giethoorn. These traditions still carry on and in fact people are required to re-roof these houses using the same materials every 30 years to keep the village looking nice and as authentic as possible.

Quack – ‘ay up me duck?

Of course the visit to Giethroon is not completed without walking around to explore the interesting part of the village and seeing the local village life. People display their old bric-à-brac in the gardens so you see glimpse of the history; and striking up a random conversations with the friendly locals was also quite fun too.

People are selling some of their old bric-à-brac
A display of historical items. Unfortunately, there were no descriptions about them. I would thought they were dated in the ’50s or the ’60s.
This one was certainly a bit of a modern display at someone’s garden. Interesting shall we say…

Of course the day out is not completed without trying the cheese. Let’s just say the Sambal (Indonesia hot sauce) and cheese don’t exactly go well together.



It was definitely worth a trip to see the unusual sights in the Netherlands, even though some part of the village is quite touristy as they cater for many of the Chinese tourists. Next time I would hire a kayak or a canoe to explore some of the nearby places along the canals and around the lake instead.


Trip Details

  • Getting there: It’s best to drive to Giethoorn as it will take you a very long time to get there via public transport. From most part of the Netherlands, get onto the motorway to Zwolle, then follow E232 then A32
  • Hiring boats: Approximately €20 per boat per hour. You will be given a crash course on how to sail the boat, although collisions are fairly common because many people don’t have the experience. No worries though, boats move rather so it’s not the end of the world.
  • Joining a boat trip: Approximately €6 per person, trip last about 1 hour
  • My recommendations: Try not to buy your ticket with the company at the entrance of the village. Walk further down the footpath and you would get a cheaper deal. There are also places that you can hire kayaks from, so you can explore the village and the lake on your own.


What interesting places have you been to lately? And what was your experience?Comment below and we would like to hear from you.


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