I admire Venice because it’s an amazing and unique town with all of its islands and isles interconnected with a great number of bridges. La Serenissima is to be found on all continents in the world and one of these places that resemble Venezia is the Dutch village of Giethoorn.
This village is situated in the province of Overijssel and more precisely it has belonged to the commune of Steenwijkerland together with two other villages since 1973. This ”Venice of the North”, or also nicknamed as “Venice of the Lower Lands”, has about 2 600 residents who live in a place without streets and traffic. Why? Simply because Giethoorn has been constructed over small islands and islets which are connected to one another via around 200 canals and 150 wooden bridges. Streets don’t exist there. Or they exist but they are, actually, acqua (water) and canals. Moreover, they are car-free and traffic is missing. There is only bike lane in the village and bikes are the only allowed vehicles there. If you wanna move from one place to another, you should jump into a boat and sail along the canals and lakes of the village.
This tiny Dutch village, situated only 120km far away from Amsterdam, was established in the 13th century. In 1230 outlaws, Flagellanti (a prosecuted religious sect) and merchants settled down and founded the settlement. The village was created without streets so that it could give a natural shelter to its resident and hide them from the religious prosecution of the 13th century. Only after some years, priests constructed the canals as we see them nowadays. In other words said, since its foundation Dutch Giethoorn has maintained and been in a perfect relationship with nature. That’s why it’s always been a preferred tourist place by all these who want to escape traffic jam and chaos, and who love and wan to be close to nature.