It is so peaceful, so different and has such simple beauty that it hardly seems real – gently gliding along small canals past old but pretty thatched-roof farmhouses.
You can turn down a “side street” (another small canal) and drift under a wooden bridge where an elderly resident may be strolling over to see a neighbor.
No this is not Venice, or Amsterdam.
It is too quiet, too serene and remote. It is so calm that its nickname of the “Dutch Venice” may give a false impression of size and crowds and commercialism.
Here in Holland’s water village of Giethoorn the loudest sound you can normally hear is the quacking of a duck or the noise made by other birds.
Giethoorn is in the province of Overijssel in the east of the Netherlands, a green and still area.
Giethoorn is at the centre of Overijssel’s canal system. Indeed, the little village is so dependent on its waterways, many of the houses cannot be reached by road. When the postman delivers the mail he travels by punt.
With a population of only 2,600 and very little tourism, Giethoorn is the kind of picturesque, tranquil village most people can only dream of. Even its website says that “the loudest sound you can normally hear is the quacking of a duck or the noise made by other birds.”
And while it’s so remote that even the postman reportedly delivers mail by punt (a flat-bottomed, square-cut boat), it is fairly accessible by car from Amsterdam, and features a variety of charming B&Bs, so you definitely stop by during your next visit to Europe.
Or you can just indulge in the photos, close your eyes, and imagine yourself drifting gently past thatched-roof cottages and wooden bridges, under the soft rays of the early morning sun.