IJsselmeer - Dutch lake

Due to the low level of their country, the Dutch have always been forced to fight the water. This battle has resulted in the development of large water works. One of the results: the IJsselmeer.

The most striking example of conquering land from the sea is the closing of the Zuiderzee in the 1930's. Between the provinces of Friesland and Noord-Holland, a 30 kilometer dam was built, the so-called Afsluitdijk (which means Closing Dike). This changed the Zuiderzee into a lake. The salt sea water turned slowly into freshwater over time.

In the IJsselmeer, four large polders have been created, covering some 1,650 square kilometers. Wieringermeer and the Noordoostpolder are typical farmland polders, whereas East and South Flevoland are being used as living and working space. From January 1, 1986, the Noordoostpolder and both Flevopolders formed the province of Flevoland. Lelystad is the capital of this province, which used to be sea! Another large city in the Flevopolder is the rapidly growing Almere.

Meanwhile Dutch engineers have constructed another long dike crossing through the middle of the IJsselmeer, from Enkhuizen (Noord-Holland) to Lelystad (Flevoland). The IJsselmeer is mostly used for recreation (sailing, surfing) and fishing.

The name IJsselmeer can be explained by dividing it in two parts: IJssel and meer. The latter means lake in Dutch. The first is the name of the main river that ends in the lake. The IJssel is also apparent in the name of the Dutch province Overijssel.

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