As three residents of Giethoorn in the Netherlands, we created this website. Firstly, to show you what our live is like in Giethoorn. Secondly, to introduce the future visitors to Giethoorn to our beautiful village. Thirdly, to show that the 1 million people who visit Giethoorn every year, sometimes also have a downside. For us Giethoorn is an authentic Dutch village where people can really be themselves. Find out more about us and our vision.
My name is Dirk Walker. Together with my family I have been living in Giethoorn village for 26 years. After studying history in Amsterdam I worked for 17 years as a teacher of history Dutch at a school in Rotterdam. In the middle of my midlife crises, I decided to leave Rotterdam and move to Giethoorn in the Netherlands. In fact, a world of difference at the time. After some casual jobs I started a company that could guide small groups of foreign tourists. I showed thousands of people the Netherlands. Some even for the fourth time. As a result, I now have a tour company with 2 partners. Our company specializes in tours in the Netherlands for groups up to 12 people. My motto is: a day without laughter is a day not lived.
“We believe that the huge numbers of visitors eventually can destroy the soul of our authentic Dutch village. As over tourism influences the ability of residents to enjoy daily life. As a result, the streets feel less inhabited. In fact, even the tourists sometimes complain that they only see other tourists.”
Authenticity VS commercial interests in Giethoorn
Everything used to be better. My grandfather said that to us and we now to our children. In fact, our children say this to their children again. Often we hear this back when we speak to (older) residents of Giethoorn in the Netherlands. Was it all better now? We'll take you back in time. In 1958 the Dutch film fanfare was released. This film was shot in Giethoorn and is considered one of the milestones of Dutch film history. From 1958 onwards the Dutch came to peek into Giethoorn on weekends and holidays. As a result, a day at Giethoorn was part of your Dutch upbringing. In fact, this is still the case. In the 1990s, belgians and Germans were also increasingly visiting. Until we ended up in the social media age. As a result, a lot of advertising was (perhaps inadvertently) made for Giethoorn in the Netherlands. Every year the crowds in Giethoorn increase. So, now there are also tourists outside the weekend and Dutch holidays. Nice for us as entrepreneurs in Giethoorn. But, less liked by the residents of Giethoorn. So, the question is: is this proces still reversible? As a result, the people of Giethoorn could say that everything is better than before.
“We believe that this cannot go on. But, we also realize that the economic importance of the region must be taken into account. So, we are not going to turn the tide with just the three of us. Together with you we want to make a try.”