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The not so fairytale-like side of Giethoorn

Posted on Jul 1, 2017 by

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As I was telling you in my previous post, visiting the beautiful village of Giethoorn is a unique experience. The narrow canals, the wooden bridges, the thatched-roofs houses with their perfect gardens, the boats quietly making their way through the canals – they all make it look as if taken straight out of a fairytale. But there is something that ruins this image a bit: the numerous tourists. The village pays the price for being so pretty, and for having such a good marketing campaign, especially in countries like China and Taiwan. Starting around 10 am and lasting till 5 pm, when the boat renting companies are closing down, the tourists invade the village’s narrow footpaths and canals. We needed to wait in line to cross the very narrow bridges, there was traffic jam on the canals, caused by way too many boats, and the restaurants were full. There were many tourists of different nationalities there, but I was surprised to find so many Chinese people visiting the place, that the bus schedule was displayed to Chinese, as well as the food menu in some restaurants. Not something you would expect to find in a small village in the Netherlands!

When I visited Giethoorn a few years ago, it was much quieter. This time it was packed.

Walking through the village, trying to make our way through the crowds and waiting a few minutes till we could take a proper picture somewhere, my friend said: it is such a pity that this beautiful place is so crowded! Indeed it was, but we were also part of the crowd, so we weren’t really entitled to complain too much about it.

Luckily, we spent the night in Giethoorn, and after everyone went back to the train station, the place finally became quiet, the water surface still, disturbed only by a few ducks. But that is another story, for now let me show you how Giethoorn looked like at noon (although, keep in mind that I tried to avoid capturing too many people in the pictures, so maybe they don’t show the exact image of the place!).

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  1. Is it a good idea to visit Giethoorn in December?

    • It might be better because the village would be less crowded, I think, but the boat ride will not be too nice – cold wind/rain and boat rides are not really friends.

  2. hi there – me and my other just visited Giethoorn – yep, in February 😉
    You’re right – twas cold and windy, but empty. Not as beautiful as in Summer but we were practically the only people there, so I’d trade the weather for crowds any day!
    Quick question – do all those boaters also make their way to the lake and along the rural network as we did? Or do most of them stick to the ‘street’?

    • Lucky you, to have the place for yourself! I don’t know the routes for all the boat services, but I think they mostly stick to the canals. If you rent a boat for yourself, you can definitely venture out on the lake, leaving most of the boats behind (even in the summer)!


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