The Dutch village of Giethoorn is one of the coziest settlements in the world. Instead of roads, there are river channels, and boats and silent boats powered by electricity are popular means of transportation. As for land transport, the locals made an exception only for bicycles, laying narrow cycle paths along the coast, along which pedestrians also move. And on the sides of the trails there are grass, flowers and trees.
The village of Giethoorn is part of Steenwijkerland, the largest municipality in the province of Overijssel. If you look at the map, you can see that from Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, Giethoorn is 120 km north-east.
Inhabits 2.6 thousand people in Giethoorn, and until the middle of the XX century. the village was a separate settlement.
In 1973 it became part of the Brederwiede municipality, which also included Vollenhove, Blokzijl, Wanneperveen. Thirty years later, in 2001, Brederwiede became part of Steenwijk, which was renamed Steenweikerland two years later.
The territory of Giethoorn is bounded on three sides by lakes:
- In the southeast is located about. De Beulakerwijde, the largest artificial lake in the province. The Beukers-Steenwijk channel running through the village flows into it;
- To the southwest is Lake Zuideindigerwijde, separated from De Beulakerwijde by a small land area. From Zuideindigerwijde to the village there is a small Zuiderpad canal;
- In the east is located about. Bovenwijde, where many of the Giethoorn canals flow into / out;
- In the west, the island of Giethoornsche Meer is located, with an area of 132 hectares - the only natural lake in this part of Overijssel.
In the north, Giethoorn is bordered by Steenwijkerwold, as well as Stenwijk, the largest district of Stenweikerland. The distance between it and the center of Giethoorn is 7 km.
On the east side of Giethoorn there is a nature park called De Wieden. These are 6 thousand hectares of peat bogs, swampy meadows and forests, ponds, reed beds and other natural attractions. De Wieden is part of the De Weerribben-Wieden National Park, which covers an area of 10 thousand hectares. Part of this park is also in the southwest.
Not every city can boast such an ancient history as the village of Giethoorn: it is absolutely known that people lived here in the XIII century. The history of the settlement can be divided into several stages: the time of foundation, the period of the Middle Ages and the appearance of water canals, recent history.
The emergence of the city
The first mention of Giethoorn dates back to 1225, when the flagellants came here. This was the name of people who used self-flagellation to mortify the flesh and preached the strictest asceticism. The flagellants aroused great respect among the people, and therefore, wherever they appeared, they gathered a crowd around them, vying with each other to offer accommodation and bread.
The first thing that the flagellants saw in Giethoorn was a huge amount of goat's horns, which were left from animals that died in a flood in 1170. This is how the settlement got its name Geytenhorn (goat's horn). True, linguists do not quite agree with this interpretation. Although they confirm that the word means "horn", they insist on a different interpretation: "in the water is the protruding corner of the country."
Giethoorn has long been a site for peat extraction. Work began on the eastern shore of Lake Giethoornsche Meer, which consisted of several areas separated from each other by the Cornelisgracht and Walengracht waterways. As the peat deposits were developed, the village was moved to the east. The last time this happened was in the XVII century.
In 1750, peat production began to decline, and the land was used to grow fodder for livestock, sugar cane and other plants that could be used for roofing.
In order to drain the peat bog, to reduce soil moisture and the possibility of using the land for agriculture, canals were dug in the village.
Since then, the settlement has acquired the form of a village, where waterways serve as roads, along which all transport links are carried out. So that ships, loaded with a large amount of goods and hay for livestock, could freely ply the canals of the village, high bridges were built connecting opposite banks to each other.
Transport of medieval inhabitants
To navigate the local canals in Giethoorn, locals have developed new models of boats. The most popular transport was the flat-bottomed boat (flat-bottomed boat) Gieterse, 6.3 m long and 1.45 m wide. It was used for different purposes - transporting goods (goods, crops), for funerals and weddings.
For the transportation of hay, peat, wood, manure, reeds, more spacious boats were used, Gieterse vlot, 8 to 11 m long, 2 m wide.The largest transport was the Gieterse bok, the length of which was 12 m. It was used, if necessary. was to transport a large amount of hay, as well as livestock (mainly goats).
Three floods of the late 18th - early 19th centuries. caused the appearance of two lakes - Molengat and Bovenwijde.
The dimensions of the latter (2 km long, 1 km wide, 1 m deep) are explained by the fact that the lake appeared on the site of peat extraction, which does not lie deeper than one meter: there is sand further away.
For a long time, the village was unknown to the broad masses - and life here quietly went on as usual, without being exposed to the special influence of civilization.
That was until director Bert Haanstra filmed the comedy Fanfare here. After the release of the film, Giethoorn became famous - and tourists flooded into him. Since the tourism industry is the main source of income for local residents.
Giethoorn is called "Little Venice" because of the sheer number of canals that cross the village. The number of bridges is also striking: there are more than 170 of them, and they are almost in front of every house that is near the water. Some bridges are part of the street, others lead directly to the house. The bridge can be approached along one of the many paths or bike paths.
The settlement has managed to maintain its authenticity: little has changed here over the past two centuries. Tthere are still many one-story houses covered with thatched roof: Only the very wealthy could afford roofing tiles, while reed was grown everywhere. Times are different now, and therefore houses with thatched roofs are much more expensive than dwellings with tiles, since they are Dutch classics.
The lawns at Giethoorn are perfect. Lawns, flower beds, bushes are always in perfect condition. Local areas near the house are not hidden from view, so the lawns can be clearly seen.
Another feature of the settlement is the huge number of goat horns, which are a reminder of what the village was named after. They can be seen on the walls of houses, on the fence, on the roof.
The main mode of transport in Giethoorn is boats and bicycles.
Cars do not drive here, if only because there are no roads for them.
But the boats here are very different - oars, motor boats, boats, kayaks. Gasoline and diesel fuel banned in Giethoorn, therefore, floating facilities are powered by electricity. They move almost silently, which is important for travelers tired of city life.
The boat can be rented at any hotel or rental point. The rental price depends on the season and rental time. In high season, transport is rented for at least 2 hours, the price for a motor boat for four people is 17.5 €, each additional one is 15 €. A boat with more seats is more expensive.
Traffic is regulated on the channels: cruise ships travel in the same direction, following traffic light commands and observing water traffic rules. There are no such strict rules for local residents - they can move in any direction.
Bicycles are another good way to get around the village. Every local has them, and they are also rented.
As far as vehicles are concerned, it cannot be said that they are completely absent. There are several roads through Giethoorn that lead to hotels. Accordingly, there are also bus stops. The central road is the Beulakerweg, which runs along the Beukers-Steenwijk canal. Another major street where traffic is allowed is the Beulakerweg.
Also parking lots on the outskirts... This means that you can get to Giethoorn without any problems, but you can only walk around the village on foot, by water or by bike.
In Giethoorn, 39 houses are national, 21 are municipal monuments, and therefore protected by the state. Among them are several churches, farms, country houses, a school, mills, pumping stations.
In addition, there are several museums on the territory of the settlement. The most interesting of them is the Museumboerderij 't Olde Maat Uus farm-museum of folk life, which is located on Binnenpad 52. Here you can personally see how the locals lived several centuries ago, visit all the rooms and cellars, learn how peat was mined and caught fish, housekeeping, hear about different crafts. It will be interesting to look at the place for washing and drying clothes, a windmill for pumping water. There is also a small cinema here, where old footage from the life story of Giethoorn is shown (text only in Dutch).
Another museum, the Old Earth (De Oude Aarde) at Binnenpad 43, has an exhibition of precious and semi-precious stones and minerals. In order for the visitor to see their beauty and radiance, the lights around the exhibits periodically go out. Various fossils are also on display, including the ostrich egg, the world's largest fossil egg. On the territory of the museum there is a terrarium where you can admire turtles and crocodiles.
Although there are no vehicles on Giethoorn, on Cornelisgracht 42 you can find the Automuseum “Histomobil”, which displays a historical collection of motorcycles, cars, bicycles and other rare types of vehicles.
The pottery workshop Pottenbakkerij Rhoda is another interesting place for tourists. Here, ceramics are handcrafted, demonstrating the manufacturing process to the public. The master's ceramic products are made using a special technology, the firing temperature exceeds 1180 ° C, which makes it waterproof and easy to wash in dishwashers.
In order to get the best possible view of the open-air museum, it is better to choose sunny days for the trip, or at least no precipitation. The monthly weather in Giethoorn is as follows:
- January: + 4 ° С during the day, + 2 ° С at night; 5 sunny, 5 rainy days;
- February: + 5 ° С during the day, + 1.4 ° С at night; 6 sunny, 3 rainy days;
- March: during the day + 9 ° С, at night + 4 ° С, 11 sunny days; 2 rainy days;
- April: during the day + 12 ° С, at night + 6 ° С; 7 sunny, 2 rainy days;
- May: during the day + 16 ° С, at night + 9 ° С; 9 sunny, 5 rainy days;
- June: during the day + 19 ° С, at night + 12 ° С; 7 sunny, 5 rainy days;
- July: during the day + 22 ° С, at night + 15 ° С; 12 sunny, 5 rainy days;
- August: during the day + 21 ° С, at night + 15 ° С; 13 sunny, 5 rainy days;
- September: in the afternoon + 18 ° С; at night + 12 ° С; 9 sunny, 4 rainy days;
- October: during the day + 134 ° С, at night + 9 ° С; 8 sunny, 4 rainy days;
- November: during the day + 8 ° С, at night + 6 ° С; 6 sunny, 3 rainy days;
- December: during the day + 6 ° С, at night + 4 ° С; 5 sunny 3 rainy days, the windiest month of the year.
In Giethoorn, the number of sunny, cloudy, cloudy days is almost the same, although cloudy ones prevail. The windiest months are December and January, while there is little wind in Giethoorn from July to October. Warmest in July and August, with the greatest amount of precipitation in the middle of summer.
The best time to see
During the day, the center of Giethoorn is always crowded. There are especially many Chinese, so inscriptions in Chinese are not uncommon here. The farther from the center, the calmer and more peaceful.
It is better to start sightseeing at nine in the morning: at this time there are few people here. But from 11 to 17 hours a huge number of tourists (several thousand people every day) scurry along the paths. After five in the evening, the crowds abruptly disappear, and peace and quiet reigns around. This is why many people recommend staying overnight in Giethoorn. Fortunately, there are many hotels here.
Where to stay
There are no five-star hotels in Giethoorn, but there are several hotels with 4, 3, 2 stars, apartments. The staff in most cases speaks at least three languages - German, English, Dutch. There is usually free Wi-Fi on site.
In any hotel you can rent a boat or bicycle and go sightseeing.
Hotel de Harmonie
Four star Hotel de Harmonie located Beulakerweg, 55. There are 16 rooms, all of which overlook the canal. In the morning, guests are offered a buffet. Residents are provided with free parking. Guests can relax on the canal terrace and enjoy regional dishes in the restaurant, including fried eel.
Check-in from 14 to 20, check-out - until 11 o'clock. Rooms at the Hotel de Harmonie are double rooms, there is an option to put a bed for a third adult. It is not possible to stay with children in the hotel. Pets are also not allowed. The room costs from 119 to 180 €.
De Dames Van De Jonge Hotel Restaurant
Four star hotel De Dames Van De Jonge Hotel Restaurant located at Beulakerweg, 30, close to the bus stop. There are 18 rooms, a restaurant, you can order breakfast in your room. The complex has a terrace and a garden. A babysitter is provided to take care of children, but it is necessary to clarify in advance regarding the possibility of settling the kids at the hotel.
Check-in from 14:00 to 18:00, check-out from 07:30 to 11:00. Rooms are double, but it is possible to add a third bed for adults. You cannot settle with animals. Price - from 82 to 160 €.
Three star hotel De Kruumte located at Kerkweg, 48a. There are 7 rooms here, decorated in a simple classic style. There is free parking on site, there are places for people with disabilities. The restaurant serves Dutch and French cuisine. Accommodation with pets is allowed for an additional fee.
Check-in from 14 to 18, check-out - from 9 to 10 hours. A double room costs from 100 €, if you deliver a bed for an adult, it will cost more. Children are allowed, but extra beds are not available. More detailed information here: http://www.booking.com/hotel/nl/de-kruumte.ru.html?aid=1140821&label=geethorn2
How to get
The easiest way to get to Giethoorn is by car. The road will take an hour and a half. If there is no car, you will have to go to the village with transfers. There are several ways to get from Amsterdam to Giethoorn.
The easiest way is to travel by train from Amsterdam Centraal to Steenwijk with a stop at Almere Centrum (2 hours). Upon arrival in Stenwijk, you need to go to the bus station, which is at a distance of 100 meters from the railway station. At Stenwijk, take bus 70 and go to Kerkweg (Giethoorn). The route takes 40 minutes, the bus runs every hour. It can also be reached by car in 13 minutes (10 km). As a result, the journey will take about three hours.
A more difficult but quicker option is to travel by train from Amsterdam to Zwolle, the second largest railway junction in the country. It will take an hour to get there. Then go by car first along the A28 highway, then - 32. If there is no car, first take the Intercity train to Meppel (17 min.), Then go to the bus station (1 min.) And take bus number 79 (22 min.). The journey will take two hours.
When calculating the arrival at Giethoorn, one must remember the time it will take to wait for the next transport. If the time gap is too long, you can go sightseeing.