Flevoland, The Netherlands

Province of Flevoland - Map of the NetherlandsFlevoland is the youngest province of the country. It is only in 1918 that the Dutch Parliament passed the law deciding to turn part of the Ijsellmeer bay into the land. In 1932, the bay has been closed by a huge dam separating it from the see called Afsluitdijk – "Closing dam". There were other dams built inside the closed area of water and 1500 millions of cubic meters of water pumped away. Two previous islands of Urk and Schokland were incorporated into the new part of the mainland. Between 1942 and 1968, after a part the area has been dried down. The Dutch call such an artificially created area of land lying lower than the level of water a "polder".

In 1986, a new province has been created on a newly finished polders. It takes its name from the ancient Roman name for the Zuiderzee bay given it by Plinius – Flevo Lacus. In fact, Flevoland consists of three polders. Only Noord-Oost Polder is connected to the mainland; East and South Flevoland are still an island on the IJsselmeer divided from the mainland by the narrow strip of water.

Flevoland it is a very flat, agricultural part of the Netherlands. Its main new city - Almere is serving as a distant bedroom to people working in Amsterdam.

Another big city and the capital of the province – Leylstad, takes its name from the engineer Cornelis Lely (1854-1929), who was a leading person in the creation of these new polders.

The only real tourist attraction of this province apart from the polder itself, is a replica of the ship of the East India Company –VOC which is a copy of the 17 century flag ship of the admiral De Ruyter "De Zeven Provinciën" ("Seven Provinces"). Along with this impressive replica of the old ship, you may see the wreckage of the old ships uncovered from the sea bottom, or through the archaeological excavations.

Driving through Flevoland remember about the speed limit in the Netherlands (120km/h or if indicated 100km/h. On this vast, flat field of land, this level of speed feels very slow. The police cameras are waiting along the road for those who loose their patience.