By Chuka Nwanazia.
Giethoorn is a ‘water village’ in Overijssel, in the municipality of Steenwijkerland, in the Dutch province of Overijssel and is located between Steenwijk and Meppel. It’s a very popular village in the Netherlands often referred to as the Venice of the North/Netherlands. The village has 2620 inhabitants and is known for its bridges, waterways, and punts. Giethoorn is elongated and consists of three neighborhoods that are connected to each other via waterways. In the north it is the Noordeinde, then the Middenbuurt and finally the Zuideinde. The Dorpsgracht is the central axis of Giethoorn and ends in the south in the Zuideindiger Wijde.
Tourism has had a relatively small influence on the old traditional town. The village, still only fully accessible by boat, is one of several places commonly known as the Venice of the Netherlands. The infrastructure of the villages counts over 180 bridges and countless canals. Giethoorn is a very popular attraction amongst Asian and especially Chinese tourists. The village sees between 150,000 and 200,000 Chinese tourists every year.
Although we’re convinced that visiting Giethoorn will be a highly memorable experience, getting there can be quite a hassle. Giethoorn is a tiny village at quite some distance from Amsterdam; approximately 75 minutes by car. Getting there by public transport will take you over 2 hours and requires transfers from train to bus. However, there are also all-in arranged tours from Amsterdam to Giethoorn available.
Things to see & do in Giethoorn
Museum De Oude Aarde
Discover the beauty of Mother Nature at De Oude Aarde in Giethoorn. The most beautiful gems, minerals and fossils have been on display in the museum since 1969. Because of the many voyages of discovery of René Boissevain (the founder of the museum), the museum is filled with a unique collection of his discoveries and findings. Discover the wondrous shapes, beautiful colours and stones that you could not dream of existed, you will meet them all in the scarcely illuminated museum.
Museum Giethoorn ‘t Olde Maat Uus
Here is an opportunity to see how life used to be in Giethoorn? This can be done in the completely redesigned Museum Giethoorn ‘t Olde Maat Uus. From personal stories of striking inhabitants, everything comes to mind about peat extraction and special customs. The fisherman’s house and the boathouse also give a unique impression of what life was like in the past and there is definitely plenty to discover for children!
This museum is home to works of art on how Giethoorn has been portrayed by artists for more than 100 years. In addition to the collection on display, the exhibition shows works that were gifted to the museum by various inhabitants of the village (past and present).
Schelpengalerie Gloria Maris
Schelpengalerie Gloria Maris is a museum that is dedicated to the beauties of marine life. Here you can enjoy the wonderful beauty that nature brings from under water.
- Discover the shells and corals in their many variations, shapes and colours.
- View the precious shell ‘Gloria Maris’, from which the gallery derives its name.
- Admire the unique collection of jewellery made of coral, pearls and shells such as mother-of-pearl, nautilus and cameos.
- Be surprised by the annually changing exhibition, inspired by the sea.
- View all gadgets (home decorations & decorative objects) from and out of the sea.
What is there to do in Giethoorn?
There is no shortage of activities in Giethoorn. Make sure to check out some of these activities:
Explore the waterways of one of the Netherlands’ most beautiful villages: Giethoorn. Enjoy Giethoorn from a tour boat with or without guides.
Here are some boat rental services in Giethoorn:
Boat rental ‘t Zwaantje
Sail with a whisper boat (without the sound of a motor) and quietly cruise around Giethoorn’s magnificent waters. Boat rental ‘t Zwaantje is popular for renting out such a quiet means of transportation to explore the area in peace and quiet. Apart from being very quiet, it is also very environmentally friendly and suitable for families with children. Pass through an island in the middle of the lake ‘t Wiede and go for a swim or have a picnic with friends and/or family.
Ds. T.O. Hylkemaweg 1 8355 CD Giethoorn
Gemeente Steenwijkerland, Overijssel
Adults: € 6.50,- p.p. Children (4 - 12 years old): € 4.50 p.p. Toddlers: Free
Restaurant de Rietstulp
Explore Giethoorn’s waterways and enjoy relaxing in a boat while exploring all that this wonderful village has to offer. Restaurant de Rietstulp lets you sail through the village on a boat, across the lake and through nature reserve de Wieden. Sail with them for an hour or get on for a nature trip of two hours.
Ds. T.O. Hylkemaweg 15 8355 CE Giethoorn
Gemeente Steenwijkerland, Overijssel
Adults: € 7.50,- p.p. Children (4 - 12 years old): € 4.00 p.p. Toddlers: Free
Boot Huren Giethoorn
For those free-spirited adventurers who would love to rent a boat and steer it themselves, Boot Huren Giethoorn is exactly where to be. Located in the centre of Giethoorn with its nostalgic bridges, from there you sail directly to the nature reserves. They also rent luxury boats, whisper boats, canoes, kayaks etc. You can also make a cruise with a boat captain/tour guide if steering one yourself is not your style.
Address and contact:
8355 BS Giethoorn
Every enthusiastic cyclist will find an extensive network of cycle paths in Giethoorn. Kilometers of varied landscapes and nature (forest, reed, water), culture and history. In Giethoorn and the surrounding area, there are various cycle routes such as the ANWB cycle route: De Weerribben Wieden and others. For more information, check out the official website of ‘t Zwaantje (the ANWB Tourists Information office): https://www.zwaantje.nl/en.bikerental.html
Be sure to check out the website for bike rentals. A route map is also included in the rental.
In Giethoorn you can swim in open water in the Bovenwijde (popularly called ‘t Wiede) at the picnic island, accessible by boat. Bovenwijde is a lake to the east of Giethoorn. The lake is about 2 kilometers long and 1 kilometer wide. It is about 1 meter deep and is accessible by boat.
Tours from Amsterdam to Giethoorn
As stated before, getting from Amsterdam to Giethoorn by public transport is quite a trip by public transport. However, there are tours available complete with transport from Amsterdam to Giethoorn and back again under the guidance of a professional tour guide.
Summer season (March 23 – October 29):
Thursday and Saturday at 09.30 h.
From July 18th till September 3rd the tour will also depart on Tuesday at 09.30 h.
Winter season (October 30 – March 22):
Friday at 09.30 h.
± 7.5 h.
30 min. before departure at Damrak 26
Child age and price:
0-3 years: free
4-13 years: child ticket
Note: All Tours & Tickets Tours depart from the Tours & Tickets Shop at Damrak 26 in Amsterdam (On your way to Dam Square, opposite the Amsterdam Stock Exchange Building).
What’s included in the tour?
- Live guide in English, Spanish and German
- Boat tour in Giethoorn
Giethoorn by public transport
If you’re looking to visit Giethoorn by public transport, our advice is to plan your trip well. Getting to Giethoorn from Amsterdam will take you at least two hours by public transport, so be prepared to leave early in the morning. If you plan your trip well and your connection is good, you’ll get to Giethoorn in just over 2 hours. If you’re not so lucky it might take up three hours, so planning is key.
The best possible connection requires you to travel to ‘Almere Centrum‘ station from Amsterdam. In Almere, you will have to transfer onto the train in the direction of ‘Leeuwarden’ a city in far North of The Netherlands. This train to Leeuwarden will take you past three stations before you have to get off: ‘Lelystad Centrum’, ‘Zwolle’ and ‘Meppel’. After passing these stations, you have to get off at ‘Steenwijk‘. From this very station, you have to take a bus in the direction of ‘Zwartsluis‘. This bus will get you to Giethoorn within 10 minutes.
The connection described above is the best possible connection. We strongly advise using 9292ov.nl to plan your trip and for real-time travel advice. In order to use public transport, you will need a charged OV-chipcard. This trip will cost you around €25,- one way, so forth and back will cost you approximately €50,- each. Check out the following page for more information on traveling by public transport.\