The Netherlands is a small country full of good public transportation options, from buses to bicycles to boats. Even in a small town called Giethoorn, residents use boats instead of buses or cars as the main vehicle.
Giethoorn is a city that has its own charm. The city is even popular with the nickname “Venice of the Netherlands”. So called because instead of the highway, Giethoorn has canals that are spread out in his city, which when combined are 4.8 kilometers long. In addition there is also a bicycle path that runs on the edge of the canal.
Local residents use boats to get around. While the car must remain outside the city.
According to National Geographic, this tourist area has existed since the 13th century and is occupied by peat farmers.
The name Giethoorn itself comes from the word Geytenhoren or which means Goat Horn. Following this statement the inhabitants then called their settlement by the name of Geytenhorn. Then it became Geythorn, then changed to Giethoorn.
Called the Goat Horn because the farmers who inhabited the area later discovered a collection of wild goat horns thought to have died due to the flood disaster in 1170. In the past, the landscape of this region consisted of wood and high peat. Launch Giethoorn site, at that time the peat diggers took a layer of soil and let it dry.
The ponds and canals in Griethoorn were created because of peat extraction activities. According to Archieven, this activity has existed since the 11th and 12th centuries.
This activity aims to eliminate the underlying layer of peat from peatlands. Peat extracted during the process is generally used as fuel. But the population at that time did not pay attention to the impact of this extraction activity. Finally, besides producing peat, this extraction process also produces the remaining canals and ponds.
The flowing water comes from Lake Giethoornse, which is located five kilometers west of the village. The existing canals and trenches were dug deeper to transport peat. After that, many houses were built on land between canals and artificial ponds. Even existing houses can only be reached by bridge or boat.
Most of the bridges built are private property. Then in 1750, peat extraction activity stopped. Citing the DBNL page, the residents began to settle down and turned to farmers. They breed cattle, cut grass and hay, and develop the agriculture and fisheries sectors as additional activities.
This shift in livelihoods then makes channel function very important. The canal that was formed was dug up and developed into the main road to transport livestock and agricultural products from one region to another.
In addition to canals, residents also built pedestrian lines and several connecting bridges with height adjusted to allow boats to pass.
The existence of this region became known to the public when the Dutch director, Bert Haanstra took pictures for the location of his film, entitled Fanfara in 1958. After the film was released, many people began to find it interested to visit Giethoorn.
Tourism in the region also increased sharply and became one of the main income of the population. To accommodate the large number of visitors, existing agricultural lands began to be converted into houses to support tourism.