Saturday 7 September 2019
From 08h00 until 21h00
Giethoorn & Urk, The Netherlands
Transportation by 4* luxury coach
Having visited the original city a few time already, Expat Club is finally going to “the Venice of the North”. And we’re not talking about Bruges or Amsterdam, not even Hamburg, but about Holland’s most beautiful village Giethoorn. There are hardly any streets here, just little canals with wooden bridges. To get from one place to the other, you take a boat and navigate yourself through a maze of waterways (in winter it is a very popular destination for skating). We will explore this exquisite village with its many stunning farmhouses from the water. Expat Club namely arranged a private boat for our group, so we can optimally enjoy the views while getting to know the other people on board. Due to the long ride a delicious buffet lunch is already included in the price, so all you have to do is to bring your positive spirit, sit back, and enjoy the ride.
UPDATE: We have added another famous Dutch village to our program: Urk, an old fishing town. And since we drive by/through Schokland, the first Unesco World Heritage Site in the Netherlands, we may as well plan a short stop there too.
What is included?
- Transportation by 4* luxury coach
- Bottled water on outbound journey
- FREE buffet lunch with cold and hot options
- Guided oat tour through Giethoorn & National Park
- Scenic bus tour through National Park
- A great group of international people
- A lifetime memory
Bus departure point
Place Schuman (bus stop next to KBC bank on roundabout)
Who can join us?
Expat Club is known for welcoming a wide variety of international people on its trips. This creates a special, open-minded, safe and friendly environment in which everyone should feel comfortable.
- Members & non-members
- Expats & (international) Belgians
- All ages, including children
- Singles / couples / retirees / friends / colleagues / families
- Foreign tourists
How to add a child ticket?
Families are more than welcome on this trip. Children up to 18 years will get a discount. Up until 3 years it is completely for free, as long as you book a minimum of 2 weeks in advance (an email is required to let us know). Children 4 until 17 pay a reduced fee of just €60, including lunch. First add the adult tickets to the cart, and on the cart page you can select a child ticket for €60. Add it to the cart and change the quantity if you need more than one. Then proceed to checkout.
Practical information for participants
Not yet available, check on Wednesday before departure
As with any Expat Club trip our schedule is carefully designed so we can optimally see Giethoorn. Still, unforeseen circumstances, such as traffic jams and road closures, may influence our program. This rarely happens, but rest assured your host, the bus driver and the welcoming destinations in The Netherlands will do their best to give you the best possible experience.
08h00 – Departure Brussels
11h45 – Lunch at Van der Valk Hotel Zwolle
12h45 – Final departure to Giethoorn
13h30 – Arrival Giethoorn
13h30 – Boat tour through Giethoorn & Weerribben National Park
14h30 – Free time
15h30 – Departure to Urk
15h45 – Short visit to Schokland (UNESCO site)
16h00 – Arrival Urk
17h30 – Departure to Brussels
21h00 – Arrival Brussels
Giethoorn & Weerribben
Giethoorn is situated in the Northwestern part of the Province of Overijssel. It has more waterways than streets. Combined with several larger lakes and a National Park, it is one of the most popular recreational areas in the Netherlands. The exquisite thatched roofed farmhouses of Giethoorn itself, with their meticulously maintained gardens, are mostly built on islands with small canals in between and characteristic high bridges connecting them. It is the perfect setting for a beautiful boat ride.
The history and name of Giethoorn are rather peculiar. It is often referred to the Venice of the North, but it is certainly not modelled after the Italian city. Still there is a clear connection with Italy, because it was here that refugees from Perugia (in Umbria), who fled from the plague, settled in the 13th century. Strangely enough the first they found here were masses of horns from wild goats. Likely they drowned during the flood of 1170, but it certainly explains the name of the village: Giethoorn – Goat Horn.
Weerribben-Wieden, one of the most extraordinary areas in The Netherlands and the largest bog in Northwest Europe. Thanks to human hands cutting peat and reed, a unique landscape was created, full of lakes, waterways, reedlands, marsh forests and quaking bogs. A past full of peat and reed has created a stunning present. Breathtaking nature, endless water and historical towns and villages with great shops and amazing places to eat and drink. Delight in the wonders of Giethoorn @ the water villages, the National Park & the heart of peat, Zuiderzee & the trading towns. (source www.visitweerribbenwieden.com)
To discover the village and the surrounding natural reserve, we rented a private covered boat for our group. We will sail by many farmhouses while learning more about the town’s history, architecture and way of life. Needless to say many anecdotes will be shared with the group. Make sure to have your cameras ready to photograph all those picture-perfect views!
Urk & Schokland
Today we have a fantastic bonus for you in mind. Because we will also visit the famous town of Urk. Just three letters but Urk has stood the test of time. A long time ago, when the Noordoostpolder (Northeast Polder) wasn’t yet created (1942) and the Afsluitdijk, the dike that closes off the big lake in the North, wasn’t yet constructed, Urk was actually an island located in the middle of the Zuider Sea, the South Sea, a big salt water body in the middle of the Netherlands. Since then it is connected to the rest of the Netherlands with the Provinces of Friesland in the North and Drenthe and Overijssel in the East. Until 1986 it belonged to the former province, but now it’s part of Flevoland, which is a province that is fully made out of polders… Except Urk of course.
Another part of Flevoland that used to be an island is Schokland, a long shaped strip of peat land. Driving through the Noordoostpolder you can clearly see it is slightly higher than the rest. And that’s also where the danger lies, because it was flooded several times. The flood of 1825 brought massive destruction and so the Dutch government decided to stop settlement on the island. In 1995 it became the first Unesco World Heritage Site of the Netherlands and during our trip we will drive “over/through Schokland” on our way to Urk.
For two of our Dutch trips (Blossom tour & Kröller-Müller museum) we have lunch in Holland’s most famous hotel chain Van der Valk. They are known for their restaurants and big buffets. Also for this trip we arranged a superb lunch buffet not far from Giethoorn, so we are nicely prepared for a great afternoon. Btw, our lunches are a great way to get to know the other people in our group. Always a nice atmosphere while enjoying the following options:
– Soup of the day
– Bread with cheeses, cold-cuts, jams etc
– Warm dishes freshly prepared
– Fruit juices & smoothies
– Coffee & tea
We will travel with a modern 4* luxury coach with reclinable comfort seats and a lot of leg space. The bus has an onboard toilet, bar, and air-conditioning, as well as a DVD-system with at least 3 flat-screens.