Giethoorn, 15, Netherlands

  • Giethoorn is a mostly car-free village in the northeastern Dutch province of Overijssel. It’s known for its boat-filled waterways, footpaths, bicycle trails and centuries-old thatched-roof houses. It was founded in around 1200CE, by people called the Flagellants. The Flagellants made it the first Village in Peatland of the Netherlands. Around the 16th Century, the villagers started digging the first channels, and many farmers began building there farm at the Channels. The villagers had dug up so much Peat that even lakes came there.

    Often referred to as 'Little Venice', Giethoorn used to be a pedestrian precinct, but nowadays exceptions are made. It became locally famous, especially after 1958, when the Dutch film maker Bert Haanstra made his famous comedy Fanfare there. In the old part of the village, there were no roads (though a cycling path was eventually added), and all transport was done by water over one of the many canals. The lakes in Giethoorn were formed by peat unearthing.

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