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IJsselmeer

(for map see Zuiderzee Works)

The IJsselmeer (IJssel-lake) is a shallow lake of some 1250 kmē in the central Netherlands bordering the provinces of Flevoland, North Holland and Friesland, with an average depth of 5 to 6 m. It is named after the IJssel river that drains into it via a smaller lake, the Ketelmeer.

The IJsselmeer was created in 1932 when an inland sea, the Zuiderzee, was closed by a 32 km dam, the Afsluitdijk. This was part of a major hydraulic engineering project known as the Zuiderzee Works, that would in later years lead to the reclaiming of land from the IJsselmeer, thereby diminishing the size of the lake and in 1975 the IJsselmeer was furthermore split in two by the completion of the Houtribdijk, now also called Markerwaarddijk, which runs from Enkhuizen southeast to Lelystad. This former southern part of the IJsselmeer is now the hydrologically separate Markermeer.

The IJsselmeer functions as a major fresh water reserve, serving as a source for agriculture and drinking water. It also offers plenty of opportunities for various recreational activities.

The province of Flevoland was created in 1986 from the polders reclaimed from the IJsselmeer.

The 2000 image shows Southern Flevoland covered with active farming. The Markerwaard was completed, but was not drained. Markerwaard is used as a freshwater reservoir and a buffer against flood waters. The original plan was to drain the area as well, but the idea was abandoned due to lack of public support.



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