Giethoorn is a village often called “Venice of the North”. Its beautiful picturesque village houses are situated along little channels which flow into a shallow, natural lake. The lake is very suitable for water sports, especially for windsurfing and sailing. Dutch children learn how to sail here because when you stand just about anywhere in the Giethoorn lake, your head will be well above the water. Besides sailing and windsurfing, you will find electric boats on the Giethoorn channels and lake which you can rent by the hour, half a day or full day. You can also rent faster, motorised boats but these are far more expensive and in our opinion, you should be at least a bit knowledgeable or experienced on how to manoeuvre a boat and about “traffic rules” on the water. By car it takes about an hour and a half to get there from Amsterdam, but it is certainly worth the effort. In Giethoorn there are a few electric boat rental places to explore the beautiful village, its channels and lake.
We also visited the National Park “de Weerribben-Wieden” which is close to Giethoorn. In contrary to the Giethoorn lake, created by forces of nature, the much larger waters of this national park ” de Weerribben-Wieden”, were formed as a result of human activity: from the Middle Ages, and until shortly after W.W.II, peat was stacked in this once swampy area. When the peat ran out, the wholes filled up with water and the locals went from peat stacking to being fishermen. There is lots of wildlife in and around these waters such as otters, and some quite rare birds like the bittern (in Dutch: Roerdomp) and the bearded reedling. Listen to the bittern’s call (0.27 sec.) you may recognise it from between the reed when you are in Giethoorn. Eventually, the lakes dried up as a result of changed weather conditions, and vegetation existed mainly of reed. Fishing was then replaced by reed industry which had various end products such as house-roof sheeting, a typical Dutch product you find on roof tops all over the Dutch rural landscape. Today, both Giethoorn and the nearby National Park “de Weerribben-Wieden” are maintained and protected but also used for recreational purposes, open to the (international) public which comes from very far and really appreciates the beauty and uniqueness of these sites.
Giethoorn by boat with undoubtedly the best skipper in the world!:-)