Travel Guide Europe Netherlands Flevoland



sneeuw in almere

sneeuw in almere

© novw

Flevoland is the Netherlands' youngest province, almost completely formed through land reclamation in the 20th century. It is fair to say that most tourists would find it less interesting than neighbouring provinces. All the larger cities and most of the smaller settlements have only been created in the latter part of the 20th century, and there are only two older villages on former islands. That said, Flevoland can be of interest for those into urban planning, land reclamation, nature (it features the country's largest nature reserve) or, to some extent, archeology. It also has a fair share of lesser-known attractions.

Flevoland was created by a large land reclamation project in the former North Sea inlet of Zuiderzee, called Zuiderzeewerken (Zuiderzee Works). Planning for it started in late 19th century, led by government minister and engineer dr Cornelis Lely, but it took several decades to complete it. Flevoland consists of two polders: the larger Flevopolder, only reclaimed in the late 1960s, which includes the largest city of Almere and the provincial capital of Lelystad, and the older Noordoostpolder, created in late 1930s and early 1940s around the former islands of Urk and Schokland, which are now incorporated into the newly created land mass.

While Flevoland has been the Netherlands' fastest-growing province, first in land area and then in population, it remains one of the smallest and least populated. Population distribution is very imbalanced: Over half of the population lives within the boundaries of the municipality and city of Almere in the westernmost extremity of the province, where population density is comparable to that of the Randstad. The city of Lelystad, the province's capital, also has an urban character, while Emmeloord and Dronten are small towns. Most areas outside of them are rural or completely uninhabited. The natural reserve of Oostvaardersplassen was created in the vast space between Almere and Lelystad, and several species of wild animals were introduced there, living in almost completely undisturbed conditions.

The landscape of the province, due to the nature of its construction, is almost entirely flat. Most of its development took place in the second half of the 20th century or later. The opportunity to create new settlements of large magnitude from scratch provided proving grounds for urban planners, and the effects of their efforts can be seen and studied today, particularly in Almere. While Flevoland may seem to be lacking in rich heritage, the province contains many sites devoted to history and conservation. Lelystad features an archeological museum and a collection of reconstructed ships raised from the bottom of the drained Zuiderzee, while the communities of Urk and Schokland remain preserved. The area of the present Flevoland also used to be inhabited by the mesolithic "Swifterbant culture", named after the present-day village of Swifterbant, and thus Flevoland remains an archeologically rich and interesting location.




As you can imagine from a province that was once water, this province is as flat as it can be. The province excists of three major parts: The Noord-Oostpolder, Southern Flevoland and Eastern Flevoland. The province also includes the former islands of Urk and Schokland. It neighbours are the provinces of Friesland, Overijssel, Gelderland, Utrecht and North Holland. The Flevoland polders, are surrounded by several lakes, and to the North-West to the big IJsselmeer.




  • Almere - The burgeoning new city is a mecca for modern architecture and urbanism buffs, with an ultra-modern city centre designed by Dutch and international bigwigs, state-of-the-art bus rapid transit and a growing number of establishments devoted to culture, architecture and urbanism.
  • Dronten - The small town on the railway line running through the Flevopolder is the seat of the municipality encompassing Swifterbant, famous for architectural finds of an ancient culture, and Biddinghuizen, hosting Walibi Holland and many annual events including the Lowlands Music Festival and Defqon.1.
  • Lelystad - Capital of Flevoland, its coastal area features a number of museums, and a replica of 17th century VOC merchant ship Batavia including its shipyard. Close by is Batavia Stad, an outlet shopping centre. An aviation museum is located near Lelystad Airport. Nature points of interest: Oostvaardersplassen and Natuurpark Lelystad.
  • Noordoostpolder - The first reclamed island of Flevoland, with Emmeloord as its main town. The most important sight is Schokland, which used to be an island village, but an evacuation in 1870 put an end to it all. It's an interesting place to go and qualified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Urk - A Protestant community with long traditions that mainly lives off fishery, with its own culture, dialect and anthem. It used to be an island, but is now almost entirely surrounded by the Noordoostpolder.
  • Zeewolde - With a strikingly low population density for a Dutch municipality (less than 80 people per square kilometre), and with most of it concentrated in the namesake town, Zeewolde offers large expanses of open plains, nature and naturist beaches.



Sights and Activities

No historic towncenters or historic buildings are to be found in this province, apart from the former Islands of Urk and Schokland. Almere and Lelystad are doing their best to become attractive cities, but for travellers it is unlikely they will rank very high on the ´must-see´ lists.


In the middle ages the island of Schokland was bigger than it is nowadays, but the Zuiderzee kept eating pieces of the island, in the middle of the 19th century the situation was getting to dangerous and Schokland was evacuated in 1859 for safety reasons, but after that order the island almost didn´t get any smaller. Since 1942 it is embedded in the Noord-Oostpolder, and no longer an island. Of the three villages that excisted on the island only the village of Middelbuurt survived. Nowadays Schokland is a Unesco World heritage site, and the site also includes a museum.



Events and Festivals


The biggest event in Flevoland is the huge festival called A campingflight to Lowlands paradise, or simply Lowlands. This is an alternative music festival, with crossovers to other artforms. You will find a complete filmfestival, poets, modern dance spread out over 10 different venues. The Festival takes place near the Walibi entertainment park in Biddinghuizen, and is sheduled at the end of the holidayseason (August).

Koningsdag (King's Day)

In 2013, the Dutch throne was passed on to King Willem-Alexander and what used to be Koninginnedag (Queen's Day) will from 2014 become Koningsdag (King's Day). The date will be changed to the 27th of April, which is the king's birthday. In 2014 however it will be on the 26th of April because the 27th falls on a Sunday. On this day the streets of almost every sizable town in the country come alive with activity.




Flevoland is gained from the sea and as a result most of its edges border open waters and smaller waterways between Flevoland and other provinces. Temperatures on average are slightly lower than average in summer and slightly higher in winter, though differences between coastal areas and more inland can be high, even during the same day. Check the Netherlands weather section for more info.



Getting There

By Plane

The nearest airport is the airport of Amsterdam Schiphol. Because of the good road connections Flevoland can be reached without much trouble, although traffic jams during rush hours can be particularly heavy between Amsterdam and Almere.

By Train

The only railway line in the province runs across the Flevopolder, forking out of the railway between Amsterdam and Utrecht, continuing through Almere, Lelystad and Dronten, and then onto Zwolle. This is a popular through line with frequent trains stopping in Almere and Lelystad, and continuing either way to many destinations across North Holland, South Holland, Overijssel Friesland and Gelderland. Changing trains, one can reach pretty much every province and major city in the Netherlands within up to 2–3 hours.

There is no railway station in the Noordostpolder. One has to change for a bus in Lelystad or Dronten, or reach it by bus from Overijssel or Friesland.

By Car

The main motorway crossing the most important towns in the province is the A 6. It forks out of the A 1 south of Amsterdam, in Muiderberg, runs through Almere, Lelystad and continues through Noordoostpolder around Emmeloord, eventually joining the A 7 in Friesland. Another motorway, the A 27 connects Almere to Utrecht.

The Noordostpolder is a peninsula, so it can also be accessed by local country roads from Friesland and Overijssel, with all the roads concentrically leading to Emmeloord, which somewhat aids navigation.

The Flevopolder is in effect an artificial island—entering it by car requires following either of the motorway links or smaller country roads that cross bridges. Such connections are available from Kampen in Overijssel, Elburg and Harderwijk and Nijkerk in Gelderland. A scenic way of entering Flevopolder from North Holland is to drive over the Houtribdijk (road N302) from Enkhuizen to North Holland.

By Bus

Several inter-province bus lines traverse Flevoland, connecting it to North Holland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Overijssel.



Getting Around

Between Almere, Lelystad and Dronten one can travel on the railway line with frequent connections. Otherwise, buses are the only public transportation options. There are frequent and convenient city bus systems in Almere and Lelystad (bus lines are numbered one or two digits). Apart from those, a network of medium-range buses connects the cities in the province with each other and destinations beyond the province borders, those are numbered with three digits and some are limited to weekdays and peak hours. You would be best advised to consult 9292.nl to make sure a connection you want to take is available at a particular time.

Otherwise, the province is navigable by bike or car. Biking around the province requires covering much longer distances than in some other areas of the Netherlands, and there may be little to see along the way, except for undisturbed (man-made) nature. Almere has a well-developed bike path network, including a central "spoorbaanpad" (bike highway) constructed for fast biking across the town in lieu of taking the train or the meandering buses, and you can rent a bike from the local VVV in the library building in the city centre. Driving around should be uneventful and comfortable, and finding parking places relatively easy.



Keep Connected


Internet cafés are not as widespread as you would expect, but you can easily find one in the popular cities. Most hostels, hotels and camp sites have several computers, so you can keep connected with folk at home. Here is a list of internet cafés that could come in handy for travellers. Otherwise, most libraries have lots of computers and prices are around the €2-3 per hour range, although sometimes it can be even more expensive.

Wireless internet access using wifi is becoming more popular and is usually available at most hotels and increasingly at train stations. Also in trains (at least in most first class wagons, but also more and more in second class) and some buses you can use wifi. Finally, places like McDonald's and Starbucks have free wifi, and smaller individual business like cafés and restaurants are on the rise too offering these services. More often than not, these service tend to be free of charge, though there might be a limited time you can use the internet.


See also: International Telephone Calls

The country code for the Netherlands is 31. The outbound international prefix is 00. The general emergency number is 112, like many other countries.
0800 numbers are toll-free and for 09xx numbers are charged at premium rates. Mobile phones have numbers in the 06 range, and calls to cell phones are also priced at higher rates.

From internet cafés, it is also usually possible to make long distance international calls. Like in other countries, telephone booths have almost disappeared, though some are still found around public transport stations, where you can use a few coins to make calls. It is only recommended for local calls.

The cellular phone network in the Netherlands is GSM 900/1800. The main providers of cell phone networks are KPN (Dutch only), T-mobile and Vodafone, who cover the whole country. Other operators, like Hollandsnieuwe, Simyo or Tele2, use one of these 3 networks basically.

It is best to buy a SIM card when in the Netherlands for use in your cellphone, as this usually works out cheaper than using the one from home. If you are planning to study or work in the country and stay for several months, buying a cellphone is the best option. A simple one, sometimes with €10 worth on it, can be bought from around €25. The simplest smartphones are around €75.


The rate for sending a postcard or letter up to 20 grams within the Netherlands is €0.64 (2014). Since 2010 there are stamps available for domestic post which no longer include the value in €. Instead, there are stamps available with either a '1' or a '2' as a substitute for value. The '1' can be used for letters and postcards up to 20 grams, while 20-50 grams require you to use the '2'-valued stamps (or two '1'-valued stamps of course).

Sending items to other EU countries and the rest of the world (there is one price since 2014) will cost €1.05. Stamps are sold at post offices, supermarkets and smaller shops/kiosks; often the place where you buy your postcards can also supply you with stamps.

Sending parcels abroad is more costly. A standard-sized parcel between up to 2 kilograms will cost you €9 for destinations within the EU and €18 (both without Track & Trace) to the rest of the world. Prices with Track & Trace start at €13 and €24.30 respectively. Parcel service is available from major post offices only; standard-size boxes are on sale there as well. For sending parcels, it might be just as competitive and fast to use a company like TNT, UPS or DHL.

If you need to receive mail while moving around, you can have it sent poste restante (to be called for) to a post office of your choice, where it will be kept for a month. If you come to claim it, bring a valid ID, and make sure to have told the sender that the name on the envelope must be an exact match with that in your passport. For addresses of post offices, as well as more information, consult the TNT website.


Quick Facts


2.412,30 km²

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This is version 17. Last edited at 15:09 on May 10, 19 by Utrecht. 9 articles link to this page.

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