Giethoorn, also known as the 'Dutch Venice', was named for the goat horns its medieval founders discovered buried in the mud there.
If you haven't been to the Netherlands yet, you should know that they don't really fancy automobiles all that much. Indeed, they are forward-thinking people who plan on making all new cars emission-free by 2030. They have also worked on the world's first biodegradable car and the small, densely populated country is full of amazing public transportation and cycling enthusiasts. Vehicle ownership here is just 0.52 cars per capita which are less than most of the E.U. Within these lowlands is one quaint village where there are actually no roads, only canals.
Welcome to Giethoorn, a medieval town where the founders discovered goat horns buried in the mud from a 10th-century flood and hence named the place aptly such. This is just a settlement of about 2,600 people and is found on the edge of reclaimed marshland in the Dutch province of Overijssel, an hour and a half away from the capital, Tourism On The Edge reports. Only thing is, you can't literally drive to Giethoorn, as it is only accessible by boat.
This place is called the "Dutch Venice" and for obvious reasons. There are over 55 miles of canoe trails that link the canal-side homes, eateries, hotels, and museums in the town center. Nearly 200 wooden arch bridges lie over the canals for pedestrians and cyclists. Many houses in the town are still only accessible by boat, so the mail is delivered by punt. A local tourism portal described the place as: "Being so peaceful and so different Giethoorn has such simple beauty that it hardly seems real – gently gliding along small canals past old but pretty thatched-roof farmhouses.". They added: "You can turn down a “side street” (another small canal) and drift under a wooden bridge where an elderly resident may be strolling over to see a neighbor. No this is not Venice or Amsterdam. This is Giethoorn Netherlands"
Village with no roads in the Netherlands pic.twitter.com/DFy1M2NXyR— Mozinity #DiscoverwithMozinity (@mozinity) January 5, 2021
The town's serene canals and thatched houses are now major news on a worldwide level. Up to 200,000 Chinese tourists visit the place every year, outnumbering the locals 75 to 1 in 2015. The village encouraged tourists to join them in a campaign to put Giethoorn on the game board of Monopoly's international edition. This actually went viral in China, and many fans voted for the village fifty times a day. It worked and Giethoorn is a rare Monopoly property today, sitting on the board alongside the world's metropolises like New York, Tokyo, and London.
Ice skating in Giethoorn.— De Goede Volger (@VolgerGoede) January 10, 2021
The Netherlands. pic.twitter.com/HWRwXEaDPL
Residents of the town, however, enjoy the quiet life and ensure that cars have to stay parked outside of town. Visitors to Giethoorn prefer to rent a canoe or motorboat to explore the sights around. However, they do not use the noisy old outboard motors which are forbidden. There are powered dinghies that are equipped with electric motors that make no noise whatsoever. If you visit the town, you will find that the loudest sounds on the canals of Giethoorn are usually ducks quacking. It's truly a wonderful getaway for anyone who has been in an urban jungle for too long.