Almere has so much water and so many green areas that even if the city grew to its maximum capacity the inhabitants would still have three times as much living space as the inhabitants of any other city you can think of. Almere is surrounded by a 42 km long (a full marathon) coastline with beaches and marinas on the Gooimeer, IJmeer and Markermeer lakes and has outstanding nature reserves such as Lepelaarplassen and the famous Oostvaardersplassen (The New Wilderness). Here red deer, Konik horses and Heck cattle graze in their hundreds, watched over by swooping sea eagles.
Flevoland and Almere land reclamationThe Zuiderzee once threatened its coastal regions. Storm surges engendered increasingly dangerous situations, which over time tragically took the lives of thousands of people. It was decided to drain the Zuiderzee. The engineer Cornelis Lely cemented his legacy in 1891 with his plans for proposing the largest land reclamation project in history: the Zuiderzee project.
The Zuiderzee project was started in 1924 with the construction of the 2.5 kilometre Amsteldiep dike between the mainland, the Province of North Holland, and the island of Wieringen. At first sight constructing a dike in the middle of the sea appeared not just a daunting prospect, but a nigh impossible one. However the job was completed in 1932. From that moment forward, the area was incrementally drained.
Flevoland is therefore a polder; an area of land lying below the level of the surrounding water. Drainage and current water levels are artificially regulated by five pumping stations, including the De Blocq van Kuffeler pumping facility in Almere.
The Netherlands was able to add a new province with this new land which appeared after draining the Zuiderzee: the Province of Flevoland, to which Almere belongs. An impressive feat when you consider Almere lies between 2 to 5 metres below sea level.
The first inhabitantsAlmere's social history starts one day in November 1976. This was the moment the first inhabitants of Almere received the keys to their much dreamed-of family homes with a garden in the brand new borough of Almere Haven. The first 'Almere' baby was born just a year later, around the same time as various companies decided to relocate to the De Vaart business park. From this moment onwards, Almere was no longer just a place to live in, but also a place where you worked. The first inhabitants of the main Almere Stad district arrived in 1980 and four years later the first settlers arrived in the Almere Buiten district. Almere became an official municipality in 1984. From the early nineteen eighties, Almere has profiled itself as an international sports city, starting with the Holland Triathlon (now called Challenge Almere-Amsterdam). Where else would you find attractive space in such quantities for this particular branch of endurance sport?
WeerwaterThe 'Weerwater' recreational lake is located in the heart of the city. The name translates as 'again water': once water, it was drained as part of the Zuiderzee project, before being re-flooded - the sand was needed for constructing the A6 motorway. Weerwater has numerous beaches and hosts plenty of recreational activities. The Floriade 2022 will be sited here in the coming years on the south side of the lake <link: Floriade >. This will certainly raise Almere’s international profile, promoting the city as the Growing Green City of the Low Countries.
You have an excellent view of Almere Centrum’s skyline from the Weerwater lake; a skyline on to which many internationally acclaimed architects have stamped their mark. Modern architecture is one of the city's key features; buildings such as Smaragd, Lakeside, Side by Side and The Wave have become recognised icons, ensuring Almere’s name on the world map as a place to visit for architecture experts and aficionados.
Almere's highest pointConstructed on the rim of the Almere Centrum station area, this office development with over 130,000 square meters of office space is known as WTC Carlton Almere. The building is an unmissable 32 floor 120 meter high skyscraper standing 125 meters above the Amsterdam Ordnance Datum.
Almere in numbers
Age of inhabitants: 56% under the age of 40
More than 440 km dedicated cycle paths
Surface area: 248.77 km2: 47.6% water and 52.4% land
The entire city lies between 2 to 5 meters below sea level
20% of the inhabitants were born in Almere
Do you want to know more about Almere? Read the Almere City Guide.