Gietthoorn, Netherlands is an idyllic, charming canal community. It has become more popular over the years as a day trip from Amsterdam. It is really important to visit before 10 in the morning or after 4 in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.
The canals wind throughout the village and boats are definitely the main mode of transport. You can rent your own boat, no license required or they have bigger boats with tour guides. The canals have rules and signage just like roads. On the right you can see the sign signalling that canal is one way only.
There are no roads for cars, making it easy to understand how it has earned its nickname "Venice of the North". Even mail is delivered by boat! Since boating and walking are the only modes of transport, boat parking is a commodity. It was common to look down side canals and see many boats wedged in.
We opted for a bigger boat with a tour guide so we could learn more about this fascinating village. This was our captain with his first mate Bogi!! We rode on a punter, a beautiful Dutch wooden boat. The tour was a good hour long and was €8 per person, dogs were free!
In order to buy a house in the historic village of Giethoorn you have to commit to living there all year round to prevent it from becoming a ghost city in the winter. There are a little over 2500 people who call this place home.
Our hotel recommended another area to rent a boat that was as pretty as Geithoorn, however less traveled.
We had the place to ourselves, the canals were so calm and peaceful. It was enjoyable looking at the homes and gardens, the Dutch really take pride in their superb landscaping! It was quite inspiring and great for garden ideas to take home!
A lot of our trolling included secluded nature sections. Of course with the Dutch and their love for bicycles, they had to construct parallel bike paths! At one point, there was even a cable connected ferry just to transport bikers and pedestrians across the canal.
The lilies were gorgeous and lined the banks of the canals!
It was interesting to see the landscapers cutting grass. The only way to access the reeds was again by boat, so the workers loaded the tractors on this barge and then off load them where the reeds need to be trimmed. It was so fascinating to see all the daily activities conducted by boat instead of car!
We stayed at a hotel on the canal near Blokzijl. We ate adjacent to the canal with cows mooing across the river!
The locals use boats called sloeps, of which we saw several arrive at our hotel restaurant. They are the perfect pleasure craft to enjoy scenery, food, and wine as is evident with this boat’s name.
The honor system is still alive and well with a self service and pay veggies, eggs, and nuts station!
It is a very beautiful and idyllic setting to enjoy the Dutch country side! You are constantly reminded of the very slight separation between water and land and of the constant battle the Dutch have had over the centuries trying to tame mother nature. As the Dutch say, "God may have made the world but we made Holland"!