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Giethoorn History

Discover Giethoorn and the wetlands located in the middle of Weerribben-Wieden National Park,

It is the largest fen in North-West Europe, consisting of lakes, ponds, canals, bridges interspersed with peatlands, reed beds, and forests. Living with water has given Giethoorn unique characteristics, which have been preserved over the centuries. You can catch sight of typical thatched farmhouses that are situated on a little picturesque entourage everywhere and take in the natural beauty of the natural surroundings, which contribute to Giethoorn's lovely nickname, 'Green Venice'. Giethoorn has something to offer young and old alike.

The Giethoorn cultural landscape was created in the 14th century through peat cutting. The peat was highly valuable as a fuel when dried, and was cut from the areas known as weren. It was then laid out to dry on long strips of land, known as ribbon, thus creating these unique wetlands sight. The peat was dredged in long strokes, alternating with strokes. These strokes were called leakers (laying fields). There was a huge demand for peat as fuel, which led to grand-scale peat extraction.

Living with water have given the village, another unique and beautiful cultural characteristic of Giethoorn are the wooden boats (punters) that transport everything through small canals with a slow and charming pace, just like life here, then, and now. The boats were used to transport peats, cows, milk, dairy products, hay and people even hosted wedding parties on them!

In this unique wetland at the northern tip of the province of Overijssel, the Dutch have used their love and appreciation for water throughout the centuries to create this unique landscape and water villages. The unique reed beds present a different image in every season, and animal lovers will find much to be pleased about in this beautiful area.


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