You must know by now that Giethoorn is one of the most beautiful, dream-like villages in the Netherlands. You must have heard that cars are not allowed to enter here, that the place is teeming with medieval cottages and old wooden bridges, and that the boat rides are to die for. All these are true. But there are things you probably didn’t know about Giethoorn. Take a look below. The best way to explore Giethoorn is by boat
The Significance of Goat Horns
The name “Giethoorn” came from “great horn”, which says a lot about the history of this place. The village was founded way back in 1230, and the earliest settlers discovered goat horns buried in mud. You won’t see goat horns now, but there are still old cottages and ancient wooden bridges in the village. There is also a museum that has preserved the local’s old way of life.
The Olde Maat Uus Museum is actually a typical farmhouse from hundreds of years ago. Museum staff are actors in costume, and they will show you how people in Giethoorn used to cut peat and build punters or small boats.
Explore Giethoorn via E-Chopper, Kickbike or Electric Bike.
No Cars Allowed!
Yes, it is true that cars are not allowed in the village, but there are roads and park areas you can use. The roads will take you to where you can park for free, and then you begin your amazing Giethoorn experience on foot.
The most popular path in the village is its main walking strip that is only accessible by footpath or canal. This will take you to the cafés, shops, and restaurants along the canals, and you definitely won’t need a car to get there.
Crowds of Tourists
Yes, Giethoorn may not ring a bell as much as Amsterdam or Rotterdam would, but this enchanting village is now popular that it gets packed with tour groups and visitors during peak days. Although Giethoorn is definitely quiet and tranquil, crowds of excited tourists lining up to try the whisper boats usually disrupt the peace.
You must know that Giethoorn is “The Venice of the Netherlands.” Just like Venice, the canals are indeed lovely canals but packed with people. Many tourists don’t know how to steer their little boats and end up bumping into the edges of the canals.
Avoid the rush by scheduling your visit on low days. You could find it difficult getting a bicycle or boat to rent on weekends. Recently, the village is most popular to Chinese tourists, outnumbering everyone else 75:1 every year. The village and its residents are most quiet, naturally going about their day-to-day lives during the week.
Real People Live Here!
Yes, Giethoorn is a tourist destination, but it is also an actual place where families live. About 2,600 inhabitants in this village love their tiny, medieval community and just like you would really appreciate having some forms of privacy. Keep in mind that Giethoorn is not a museum village simulating life. It is real life, with houses and gardens that are privately owned by residents.
The thatch-roofed homes, picturesque farms, and dreamy gardens are so pretty that it’s easy to forget people live there. You are not allowed to just walk over the gardens and farms and pick the flowers.
Winter & Sinterklaas
Yes, visiting the village any time of the year is fun, especially between April and October, but winter in Giethoorn has its unique style of charm. The place becomes even more enchanting as snow begins to fall. The gardens, farms, and roofs are then covered in a white blanket of ice, and the trees with glistening snowflakes. It’s like stepping inside a frozen world of wizards, fairies, unicorns, princesses, and other magical beings. Imagine skating on the frozen canals, rivers, and lakes, passing underneath the icy wooden arch bridges.
Know also that warm chocolate with whipped cream or a mulled wine at one of the many cafés is just perfect after a lovely skate on a frozen lake.
Speaking of winter, you probably didn’t know that Giethoorn (and the rest of the country) has its own Santa Clause. They call him Sinterklaas (or Saint Nicholas), the Dutch Father Christmas, and he comes on the 5th of December to give children chocolates and marzipan sweets.
It’s in Monopoly
Finally, you most probably didn’t know that you can “visit” Giethoorn and “purchase” properties when playing the new international Monopoly set. It successfully won over 182 other places across the world who hoped to be featured in this ultra-popular board game. The Chinese really love Giethoorn, and it was determined that over 200,000 Chinese fans voted for the inclusion of the village online.
Discover more when you get here. There are surprises around every nook and corner, as you stroll around or ride a bicycle along the canals. And in case you haven’t heard, you don’t have to pay an entrance fee to enter the village. You can even park for free almost anywhere. If you have a boat, you can sail on the lakes for free as well.