Go to the Giethoorn photo album if you want to see the pictures.


Another nice place to visit is Giethoorn, Venice of the north.


Giethoorn was founded ca. 1230. The first inhabitants found a great many horns of wild goats there, which had probably died in the flood of St. Elizabeth in 1170. They called their settlement "Geytenhorn" (horn of goats), later corrupted to "Geythorn" which still later became Giethoorn. The village is the result of peat cutting. Because of the digging of peat ponds en lakes arose and to transport the peat waterways and canals were dug. Many houses have, as it were, been built on little islands which can only be reached over the bridges that are characteristic of Giethoorn. Of old transport in Giethoorn has taken place by water in so-called "punters". You can hire these punters and in that way get to know Giethoorn from the water or you can take a round-trip by boat under the direction of an expert.


Touring boat

And that is what we did. We arrived by car in Giethoorn and booked a round-trip on one of the many boats. A friendly guide told lots of information about Giethoorn. Through small canals we sailed to the lake with wide views where people were sailing, swimming or pushing a punter with a long stick.


Fishers' monument

From the lake the boat turned into some smaller waterways and headed back through the center of the village. There was a foothpath on the left side where people were strolling. From the water we had nice views on the houses with thatched roofs and beautiful gardens.After the boattrip we walked a little into Giethoorn, visiting a small museum with old diving gear and other sea and lake stuff. It had a nice little souvenirshop. but Sisi decided not buy anything. Sisi's father asked why we walking now through Giethoorn. He had seen already everything and wanted to go somewhere else.


We still had some left before going back to Breda, so I suggested to go to Urk, a formerly island in the Zuiderzee. After building a huge dam, the Afsluitdijk, it remained a lively fishing place with a 1000-year history. Nowadays it is part of the mainland, but it has kept its old traditions.

We drove beneath sealevel on land which was conquered from the sea. It had long straight roads and wide areas of farming grounds. Many farmers moved from Brabant to Flevoland where they could farm more land then they had before.

An hour later we arrived in Urk. We parked the car in one the small streets and walked towards the IJsselmeer, past the fishers' monument, dedicated to the ones who lost their lives at sea.

After the walk we drove through the streets with small houses, along the church, to the harbor. The centre of the village was almost deserted, no shops open or people sitting or walking outside. Maybe it was so quiet because it was sunday and Urk is a very religious community. We drove around for a little while and finally headed back for Breda.