Seniors Enjoy Beautiful Giethoorn, Holland

o-GETTY-900Giethoorn (pop. 2,620), known as the “Venice of the North” is a village in the Dutch province of Overijssel. Senior visitors will find the pace very slow and Giethoorn remains an old traditional town.

Most of the present inhabitants live on private islands. The village, still only fully accessible by boat, is one of several places commonly known as the Venice of the North or Venice of the Netherlands. Giethoorn has over 180 bridges and is often called a “village without roads.”


Country Living notes that there are places in this world that are so surreal and beautiful that when you first see photos of them you naturally assume they must be from a movie set. This enchanted neighborhood that’s built upon a network of narrow canals is actually completely real. You will be taken by the sheer beauty and pleasant setting.

Seniors Visit On Bikes Or By Boats


Four miles of canals and farmhouses run through the village, with thatched roofs dating back to the 18th century. Giethoorn became known as a tourist attraction only after 1958, when Dutch director Bert Haanstra captured his famous comedy “Fanfare” in this village.

The village was founded around 1230 after fugitives coming from the Mediterranean settled there. They discovered horns of wild goats that may have died during the flood of St Elisabeth back in 1170.  After that they called the settlement Geytenhorn (horn of goats). Later it changed to Geythorn and today it’s known as Giethoorn.


Scroll down the Daily Mail take on the village, hop in a boat and enjoy a canal tour. Giethoorn is highly popular among Chinese tourists. The village of only 2,620 inhabitants has nearly 200,000 Chinese visitors each year.

Destination For Ice Skaters

Giethoorn’s history goes back to around 1200 when Franciscan monks settled in the area. In the marsh lands peat was formed and when the settlers started to use the peat, canals were dug for transport. Big areas became lakes, many of them not deeper than three, four feet. Senior visitors will find that Giethoorn is located at the edge of a national park (Weerribben-Wieden), a beautiful area.


The 180 bridges are the only means to reach many of the houses. In winter months, Giethoorn is a highly popular destination for ice skaters.

In Giethoorn there are various museums where seniors can learn about the life and work of the last 100 years, visit pottery works, as well as old cars, bikes and sleds. There are also numerous art exhibitions.


Maybe a “punter” would be something senior visitors would enjoy. A fellow with a long stick takes you on a journey through the canals propelling the boat along. I did that once in France in a swampy area and it was quite memorable.

VirtualTourist has many good suggestions on what to see and do including restaurants and places to stay. NO CARS, no stop signs, no busy intersections, except for on the water and very quiet.  -jeb

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