area 141,175 hectares/348,702 acres)The province of Flevoland, at the south end of the IJsselmeer, came into being only in 1986, when the Oostelijk and Zuidelijk (East and South) Flevoland polders, previously under direct government administration, were combined with the Noordoostpolder (Northeast Polder), then part of the province of Overijssel, to form a new administrative unit.
East and South Flevoland are separated from the mainland by a wide channel known as the Veluwemeer - a necessary feature, since without it the water table in the higher coastal areas would have fallen to an unacceptably low level. The polder, an expanse of clay soil lying 4- 5m/13-16ft below sea level, has been turned over to agricultural use and is very thinly populated. Apart from scattered farms there are only six settlements on the whole area of the polder. Flevoland is the first region in the Netherlands to be designated by the European Union as "underdeveloped" and to be granted financial assistance accordingly since 1993. That it was so assessed is probably mainly a matter of luck, because a large part of the population of the province actually works in Amsterdam rather than in Flevoland itself.As Flevoland was an entirely new creation, its development was systematically planned from the outset, the towns and other settlements, industrial areas, nature reserves, roads and canals being laid out on the drawing board in accordance with strictly functional principles. As a result motorists unfamiliar with the area have difficulty in judging distances on the dead straight roads: hence the expression polder blindness.
East Flevoland, the older part of the polder (drained between 1950 and 1957), has an area of some 54,000 hectares/135,000 acres, two-thirds of it belonging to the commune of Dronten and the remaining third to Lelystad. The land was brought into cultivation in the mid 1960s, when some 2,000 farming units were established. At the outset they grew mainly rape, oats and barley; they now also produce wheat, sugar-beet, fruit and vegetables. The east coast, along the Veluwemeer, was planted with trees and is now an attractive recreational area, with parks and boating harbors.
To the south of East Flevoland is the younger South Flevoland polder, finally won back from the sea in 1968, with an area of 43,000 hectares/107,500 acres. Cultivation of the reclaimed land began only in 1978 and is not yet complete. On this polder the various stages of development can be seen, from the pre- cultivation measures carried out by the state by way of barley growing to the final phase in which wheat is grown.
A quarter of the area of the Flevoland polder has been left in its natural state, as in the extensive Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve, an area of lakes with large numbers of migrant birds, including spoonbills and cormorants. The birds can be watched from an observation post on the Knardijk.
At the southeastern tip of the polder is the town of Almere , one of the youngest communes in the Netherlands, founded only in 1975. Almere lies within the commuting area of Amsterdam, where most of its population work, but industry is also developing in the town.Almere Haven is the oldest section of the town with a small harbor and surrounding forests. It is a quieter area without the traffic and noise due to the original cul-de-sac layout.
Almere Center for Contemporary Art (ACHK) - Pavilions
Dronten, on the Oostflevoland (East Flevoland) polder, is the central shopping and market center for the polder, now developed for agriculture. The most notable feature of the town is De Meerpaal, an interesting modern building (called, on the Greek model, an Agora) which is used for a variety of purposes (the weekly market, exhibitions, sporting events, etc.).
Museum of Marine Archaeology, Ketelhaven
Situated 5km/3mi north of Dronten, on the shores of the Ketelmeer, is the Ketelhaven Museum of Marine Archaeology (Museum voor Scheepsarcheologie), with remains from the Roman site of Castellum Nigrum Pullum and from ships wrecked in the Zuiderzee. Also at Ketelhaven is one of the sluices used in the draining of the Oostflevoland polder.
Farther south from the Flevohof, on the shores of the Veluwemeer, is a large recreation area, with boating harbors, bathing beaches, water sports facilities and camping sites.
Aqua Centrum Bremerbergsehoek, Biddinghuizen, Netherlands
Biddinghuizen is home to the Lowlands Music Festival, held annually in August, and the Aqua Centrum Bremerbergsehoek.
South of Dronten, near the village of Biddinghuizen, is the Flevohof (Spijkweg 30), a combination of an agricultural exhibition and a recreation center, with periodical exhibitions on all aspects of farming life, model farmhouses, farmsteads and houses for growing early fruit and vegetables, an auction hall and a collection of 5,500 cacti and succulents.
Walibi World (formerly Walibi Flevo)
Included in the attractions of this amusement park are a water roller coaster, rapids, merry-go-rounds, a children's village and the Suspended Looping Coaster.