Go to book Flevoland - a world water wonder

New land - Flevoland

We have new land!

After the reclamation in 1942, there is no general regret about losing the island of Schokland. It is simply parceled together as part of the future agricultural area. The new land is seen as the victory trophy of Dutch struggle against the water. The names Emmeloord and Ens, the old fishing villages on Schokland, are to be returned in the Noordoostpolder as village names. The former island with the former residential lakes, Emmeloord, Ens (or Middelbuurt), the Zuidert, and the Zuidpunt are still recognizable as a long, low ridge in the broad polder landscape.

In 1995, Schokland and its surroundings become a World Heritage site and were recognized as a unique part of the Netherlands, where the centuries-long battle against water and life with the water is visible.

After the Noordoostpolder, two adjacent polders were created: Oostelijk Flevoland in 1957 and Zuidelijk Flevoland in 1968. The polders became a new province of the Netherlands in 1986, with the capital Lelystad.

Former island Schokland in new polder

Plans and Reality - polders

Cornelis Lely and his fellow politicians had bold dreams. But reality is quite different, sometimes. During the planning and building process the original plan was already changed. One of the planned polder areas, the Markerwaard, was never reclaimed. This was for environmental reasons, to keep a larger area as reservoir for fresh water, and because there was less economical urgency.

Original plan by Lely, source: Wikipedia

Final realization

Plans and Reality - wetlands

In every new polder that was created, the lessons learned from the previous polder were implemented. The most recent insights about agriculture, mechanisation and transport lead to evolving differences between the polders. Fewer villages, bigger fields and more open water were implemented in newer areas.

Even in polder areas that were constructed, the plans could change quite significantly. In Zuidelijk Flevoland, the pioneers had planned large industrial areas, but instead, a unique and precious wetland developed, the Oostvaardersplassen wetlands. The ecological balance is delicate; politics and science are in constant struggle.

Oostvaardersplassen