Giethoorn

Giethoorn

The Venice of the Netherlands. That is the nickname of the watery village Giethoorn.

The first written mention of Giethoorn dates back to 1230. The bishop of Utrecht gave a  group of wandering flagellants a piece of land in the wilderness and ordered them to settle down there, hoping they would stop their travels from town to town making an exhibition of themselves where ever they went. Upon arrival they had to make the area fit for living and farming. They drained the peatland and started excavating peat, drying it to make turf. Eventually, the land was made suitable for cattle to graze but farms were small and farmers also had to work as fishermen, reed cutters, hunters or poachers. Because there were few roads in the village, the punter (or larger bok) became the preferred mode of transport. Cattle, manure, hay, marriage and funeral processions, everything was transported by boat. Today the village counts 2600 inhabitants and is unique in our country for its bridges, waterways, punters and farmhouses on separate little islands. Hidden between trees you will see old 18th and 19th century farmhouses, peat workers’ cottages, boatyards and many wooden bridges. In the village you will find museums, galleries and expositions. A favourite tourist attraction is ‘t Olde Maat Uus, a farmhouse from 1800, now a museum, with period rooms. Also on the grounds: a haystack, tjasker mill, fisherman’s house and groceries shop. At Schreur Dockyard, traditional Giethoorn boats are built and renovated according to traditional methods. You may also like to visit “De Oude Aarde” (minerals, precious stones and ornamental stones) and Gloria Maris sea shell gallery.