Home > Europe, History > Giethoorn, Netherlands: the Town with No Roads

Giethoorn, Netherlands: the Town with No Roads

When thinking of traveling by water throughout a city, Venice is usually the first name that springs to mind. What if waterways were the only way to get around town? Such is the case for Giethoorn, Netherlands, a small town of about 2,600.


Known as the “Venice of the North,” Giethoorn was planned & constructed as a waterway town in AD 1230. No roads were constructed; the only way to navigate the town was by boat (today, locals call them “punters” or “whisper-boats”).

(Click thumbnails to enlarge)

About 7.5km of waterways run through the old part of Giethoorn, each averaging about one meter deep. Today, a bicycle path is the only road through the old town.

There are many small islands throughout old Giethoorn, accessible by wooden bridges. On each of these islands resides a house or group of homes. Many of the homes are original several-century old constructions, still with thatch roofs.

Giethoorn is a quiet, peaceful town located in the Northwest of the Overijssel province. The town appreciates visitors and tourism is a major industry.

Feel free to pay them a visit next time you’re in the area.


  1. stellaondine
    June 5, 2012 at 20:09

    What a beautiful idea. Maybe next vacation!

  2. gabriela58blue
    June 6, 2012 at 17:46

    Such a beautiful place! I love it.

  3. June 8, 2012 at 10:28

    This is simply fantastic! What an amazing place to live! Do you know how people get in and out of town?

  4. Diesel McBadass
    June 9, 2012 at 22:32

    I just stumbled across this blog a few hours ago and have already read each article. Please accept my hearfelt gratitude on a job well done. Keep up the good work.

  5. Dipali Bhasin
    June 10, 2012 at 23:16

    What a place!! Reading the article makes me feel that it’s be a vacation that must be experienced once in a lifetime….definitely a must go to place.Absolutely fabulous!!

  6. Dana
    June 18, 2012 at 10:10

    Anyone ever lose their lawn mower in the drink, I wonder?

  7. king_hil
    June 25, 2012 at 20:21

    the human shire

  8. Carl
    August 15, 2012 at 09:01

    What drives the economy there. Are they all commuters?

  9. hhhWes
    August 22, 2012 at 16:57

    Google Maps shows that they have built a road based community south west of the old town. These are very great articles though, keep writing.

  10. anne
    October 11, 2012 at 11:49

    It’s very unique place, I LOVE IT!!

  11. najla khaira
    January 18, 2014 at 03:17

    i really want to spend my whole life time there with my lovely family

  12. January 20, 2014 at 08:03

    Reblogged this on Hindsight and commented:
    This is so beautiful.

  13. June 20, 2014 at 03:43

    Wow! beautiful place.

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