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Giethoorn, Netherlands: the Town with No Roads

Giethoorn Netherlands

When thinking of traveling by water throughout a city, Venice is usually the first City 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 Netherlands 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 Giethoorn, Netherlands a visit next time you’re in the area.


Giethoorn Netherlands
Giethoorn, Netherlands