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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Urban Planet Weird Wednesday: Venice of the Netherlands

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Weird Wednesdays on Urban Planet takes a look at obscure, absurd, and curious things about cities around the world.

Although Venice steals the show in terms of canal-based transportation networks, it’s not alone. Take a look at the village of Giethoorn, Netherlands, where the population of just over 2,500 go about their daily lives without a single car.

Giethoorn itself dates back to the 1200’s, and many of its buildings today are from the 18th century. The canals run six and a half kilometres through the village, allowing residents and tourists alike to navigate the community, often on the silent, electically-powered “whisper boats”.

Footpaths and cycling trails create alternate routes throughout the village, with lovely wooden bridges spanning each canal.

Giethoorn became a popular tourist site after being features in Dutch filmmaker Bert Haanstra 1958 comedy Fanfare.

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photo by K.K. Chu



  1. What plant is that large one at the forefront? I want one if I can grown it!

  2. Lagoon City, Ontario, which is between Orillia and Beaverton just off Lake Simcoe, is a good example much closer to home. The difference is that most homes have both water and road access, but it’s still very cool non-the-less.

  3. For a town “with no roads” it sure has a lot of roads. It is really more of a small canal enclave surrounded by a modern town.