Business Insider Edition

A picturesque car-free village in the Netherlands is being overrun by tourists and 'nuisance perpetrators'

Brittany Chang , Business Insider US
 Sep 29, 2019, 02:05 PM
Tourists have been clogging the picturesque canals with boats.
  • Giethoorn is a car-free village in the Netherlands, about 75 miles from Amsterdam.
  • The main form of transportation is by bicycle or foot on the roughly 180 wooden foot arch bridges, or by boat on the over 55 miles of canals, according to Condé Nast Traveler.
  • Some residents, however, have been complaining about an onslaught of tourists that has been damaging bridges and private property and causing traffic in the otherwise picturesque canals.
  • For more stories go to www.businessinsider.co.za.

Giethoorn is a picturesque, idyllic car-free village in the Netherlands that looks as if it's straight out of a storybook.

The village, about 75 miles from Amsterdam, doesn't have any roads, which means tourists and its roughly 2,600 residents can get around only by bicycle, foot, or boat, according to National Geographic and World Atlas.

Tourists have the option to rent boats and explore the waterways. Locals of the "Venice of the Netherlands," however, have had complaints about the tourists and their behavior in the village. The residents even wrote a letter to the municipal council demanding immediate action against "nuisance perpetrators in the picturesque canals," the regional publication RTV Oost reported.

Tourists have been accused of sailing too fast, some under the influence of alcohol and others without proper permits. Other boat renters have been too young or sailing in the wrong direction.

"Because water safety is at stake and because the municipality simply has a duty to act when someone breaks the rules," the residents wrote in the letter.

The village started repairing damaged bridges in May, RTV Oost reported, and all homeowners who owned bridges along the parts of the canals frequented by tourists were eligible for collision protection.

Take a look at the one peaceful, but now overcrowded, canals:


Giethoorn is a car-free village in the Netherlands, about 75 miles from Amsterdam.


The car road-free restriction means tourists and its roughly 2,600 residents get around by bicycle, foot, or boat, according to National Geographic and World Atlas.

Source: National Geographic, World Atlas


There are over 55 miles of canals and more than 180 wooden foot arch bridges to aid in travel, according to Condé Nast Traveler.

Source: Condé Nast Traveler


The idyllic, picturesque village has caught the attention of tourists who have been flocking to the canal-filled "Venice of the Netherlands."


Tourists can rent boats to explore the waterways.


"The downside to this is of course that you'll be sharing the water [with a] million boats steered by clueless unlicensed boaters," Christina Guan of Happy to Wander wrote in a blog post about her visit to Giethoorn.

Source: Happy to Wander


"I can't lie to you, I saw a lot of awkward collisions," she wrote.


These tourists have been causing congestion in the waterways that locals need to use as a form of transportation.


They have also been damaging parts of the bridges and boats in collisions.

Tourists have been clogging the picturesque canals with boats.

Village residents started complaining, even writing a letter to the municipal council demanding immediate action against “nuisance perpetrators in the picturesque canals," reported the regional publication RTC Oost.

Source: RTC Oost


Locals said visitors were sailing too fast, some under the influence of alcohol and some without the proper permits. Other drivers were too young, and some sailed in the wrong direction.


"Because water safety is at stake and because the municipality simply has a duty to act when someone breaks the rules," the residents wrote in the letter.


In May, the village started repairing the damaged bridges, RTV Oost reported.

Source: RTV Oost


All homeowners who owned bridges along the parts of the canals frequented by tourists were eligible for collision protection.


The villagers have a "love-hate relationship" with the tourists, NOS reported. While tourism helps the local economy, tourists also walk through the residents' private property.

Source: NOS


Additional steps have been taken to guard against the stream of tourists that shows no signs of stopping. Extra posts with crossbars were installed to strengthen bridges from boat blows.

Sjo/Getty Images

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