Giethoorn: The Village With No Roads

Jan 26, 2012 1 comments

Giethoorn is a well-known tourist village in the Netherlands, dubbed the "Venice of the North". This is because of the fact that the village has no motor-able roads, and all transport is done by water over one of the many intersecting canals.

The water surrounds came from the big flood of St Elizabeth in 1170, and the village itself was founded and developed back in 1230 when Mediterranean fugitives came to settle here. The fugitives discovered many horns of wild goats which had probably died in the flood, and that is where the name comes from. Originally they called the settlement ‘Geytenhorn’ which means ‘horn of goats’, eventually becoming Giethoorn over the years.

The village owes it characteristic appearance to peatdigging. The peatdiggers dug up the peat-soil at the places that most suited them, mixed it in a trough and spread it out on the land to dry. This led to the formation of large and small lakes. To transport the peat, ditches and canals were excavated. Many houses are as it were built on little islands, reached through a high bridge. The villagers use small boats with a quiet electric motors known as whisper boats, and wooden bridges are used to connect one island with another.

Giethoorn became famous, especially after 1958, when the Dutch film maker Bert Haanstra made his famous comedy "Fanfare" there.


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Sources: 1, 2


  1. Remove the water and put a road instead and it looks just like one specific street in Studio City (Calif.)! Down to the houses, the roofs, even the gardens!


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