Giethoorn is a quaint historic village in the Dutch province of Overijssel. It is one of the most curious places in the country. It is so beautiful that tourists are enticed to come, but the village’s charm and uniqueness are put at risk as they come.
Tourism and the deluge of eager visitors could eventually ruin what Giethoorn is known for – a medieval residence untouched by modern commercialism.
Living in Giethoorn, as one could imagine, is one of bliss and enchantment, but also of concerns. Residents are worried that too much tourism could transform their lovely community into a typical village with cars, modern shops, and entertainment centres, with the accompanying noise and pollution.
Older residents of Giethoorn remember the time when not many outsiders came. Tourism began in 1958 when the Dutch film fanfare was released. Since then, not one Dutch person didn’t want to see the village during holidays. A day at Giethoorn became part of one’s Dutch upbringing.
In the 1990s, Belgians and Germans arrived and frequented the village. With advertising and social media, the world finally knew about this destination, and soon those living here were consistently visited by foreign tourists. Today, Giethoorn is most popular amongst Chinese tourists, outnumbering everybody else 75:1 every year.
Residents of Giethoorn can only sit back and see the crowds increase every year. The process perhaps is irreversible, and those living in the village have adjusted by engaging in local business, offering boat rentals and transforming their homes into cafés or accommodations. With such business opportunities, the people of Giethoorn could say that everything is better than before.
Transportation in Giethoorn
Giethoorn is known for its waterways, and visitors need a boat to go about the village as locals. It’s very easy to rent a boat now that those living in Giethoorn are offering several boats and rides.
There is a well-known boat rental company located in the village centre. There three types of boat available: a sloop boat (for 4, 8 or 12 people), whisper boat (electrically powered punt boats), and a guided cruise.
Boat owners and guides give out Giethoorn maps and suggested routes to make sure visitors see everything during their visit. As the maps are prepared by residents, for sure no spots or corners have been left out. Boats are available for rent from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.
The Best Time in Giethoorn
Those living in Giethoorn can enjoy all that the village is known for 24/7 all year round. They willingly share their neighbourhood to tourists and visitors knowing that the place they call home is lovely every day of the year.
The high season starts in April and goes all the way to October.During the Dutch school holidays in July and August,the absolute peak is Dutch public holidays, Dutch national holidays, and Sundays. On these days, the village is practically crowded, sometimes with massive crowds.
Also, it is wise to avoid Pentecost and Ascension Day, because historically these are the busiest two days of the year.
During the week, the neighbourhood is quiet and relaxed on Mondays. Residents love this day, which should hint at tourists who wish to avoid the crowd. There is definitely fewer people during weekdays.
Giethoorn is very popular in spring when the farms and gardens light up in full colour. The tulips are in full bloom and temperatures are welcoming in June, July and August.
The colours fade and visitors begin to dwindle when autumn starts. This is perhaps a good time for people to come if they wish to see Giethoorn without the horde of travellers. In winter, visitors are limited to those who love snow and ice skating.
This is not to say, however, that Giethoorn isn’t as lovely in winter. In fact, in turns into an enchanting wonderland of ice and snow, as the lakes and canals turn to skating areas.
How to get to Giethoorn
Getting to Giethoorn is easy and not expensive. When taking a public ride, take the Intercity from Amsterdam Centraal for a 2-hour trip. One-way ticket costs about EUR25 per person, but could go down to as low as EUR15 during the low season or when booked early.
When driving, Giethoorn is about 120 km from the capital city. The drive could take around 1 hour and 25 minutes. Don’t expect to drive all the way to village though, as Giethoorn remains to be car-free. Most of the parking lots in Giethoorn are for free
Living in Giethoorn is magical, and tourists get to experience it for a day or two. It is important therefore to be respectful of village residents. No matter how popular it could get, Giethoorn is still just a Dutch village inhabited by real people. These residents who wish to enjoy privacy and convenience, like everyone else.
We have written an article about the several options how to come to Giethoorn.
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