Founded in 1967, Lelystad is the capital of the province of Flevoland, which except for the former islands of Urk and Schokland consists fully of reclaimed land. The city stands as a monument to a long history of Dutch hydro-engineering ingenuity.
Some interesting facts:
- Before the devastating Saint Lucia Flood of 1287, which created the Zuiderzee from which Flevoland was eventually reclaimed, the land where Lelystad now is was swampy and marshy, but habitable. The oldest evidence of habitation dates back 6,500 years.
- The population of Lelystad is around 80,000. Impressive when you consider that the city’s land was not reclaimed from the water until 1957.
- The city was named for Cornelis Lely (1851-1929), who was not only a minister, governor and politician, but more importantly a hydraulic engineer. In 1891, it was Lely who designed the plan for the closure of the Zuiderzee, which enabled the reclamation of the Flevoland polders.
- Areas of interest in and around Lelystad include the Oostvaardersplassen Nature Reserve, Aviodrome Aviation Museum with one hundred years of civil aviation history, a reconstructed 17th East India Company sailing ship, the Batavia, and Exposure an 85-foot tall sculpture of a crouching man by British artist Antony Gormley located on a breakwater dam.
- Lelystad is home to the first outlet mall in the Netherlands, Batavia Stad Fashion Outlet, with more than 150 stores.
For more in-depth coverage of Lelystad, read Issue 60 of Dutch the magazine.
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