An ideal area for a couple of days’ holiday, for us beginning on May 1st, in the northern corner of the province Overijssel.
Giethoorn is a lovely little village built almost on water as the whole neighbourhood lies low among lakes and networks of channels among them. The overall impression is somewhat damaged by the fact that somehow the place has become known as the Dutch Venice so most of the inhabitants turned to serve the tourism industry. This is what awaits the visitor just off the car park.To the right you can imagine the row of restaurants and stalls of the lots of guides offering to hire out legions of small boats and barges for larger groups of tourists. But one has to cut the crowds out of the pictures (if at all possible) to see what the village should actually look like as habitation.In fact there are so many tourists that it is quite impossible to avoid them any further. Miraculously, the place has become rather well-known among the Chinese so the density of Chinese people almost matches that in popular large Chinese restaurants anywhere around the Netherlands. Notices about hiring the boats and restaurant menus are in Dutch and Chinese, not in English though the odd Italian restaurant also appears as befits a mini-Venice. But quite unlike in Venice, almost all houses have thatch roofs.The Brazilian giant rhubarb is also prevalent in the village, I’d like to see it fully grown later – it must be a spectacle.Then, when hiring boats, some people really become dangerous – beware if you are with kids.The boats for hire are battery-operated slow boats and can be taken for one or two or three hours or even more, for which tourists get a description of the route possible for that length of time. It is by hiring for at least two hours that people can get out into the nearby lake and explore nature on a sunny day.At one point there is a look-out tower. The view from there is a nice eye-opener about the area.Those intent on avoiding the crowds can opt for the area called Dwarsgracht just across the road from Giethoorn. We chose a different area with kids though.
The nearby Kempen is a completely different cup of tea. On the way there the traveller gets in among some wonderful fields of tulips.The town lies at the mouth of the river IJssel, near where it flows into the IJsselmeer. Surprisingly, it is a former Hansa town with beautiful architecture, complete with a number of bigger sailing ships moored on the quay.(Broederport)(Memorial to the Schrokkers, fishermen who were re-housed to Kampen when the island Schokland in the Zuidersee was evacuated)(No bikes here!)(the smallest house – in the Netherlands? here in Kampen for sure)
by Z.J.S. and P.S.