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Lelystad ( ) is a municipality and a city in the centre of the Netherlandsmarker, and it is the capital of the province of Flevoland. The city, built on reclaimed land, was founded in 1967 and was named after Cornelis Lely, who engineered the Afsluitdijkmarker, making the reclaiming possible. Lelystad is approximately 5 metres (16 ft) below sea level.


Lelystad is area-wise the largest municipality in the Netherlands. A big part of that area is water: Markermeermarker and IJsselmeermarker. Another major area is the internationally famous nature park Oostvaardersplassenmarker, which spontaneously grew when the polder of South Flevoland was drained. Lelystad is also surrounded by a square of woodlands and parks and flat farmland. The location of the city makes weather and skies especially beautiful. The importance of the landscape and sky is emphasized by several pieces of land art: engineers' work and arts like the Observatorium by Robert Morris (see below).


Lelystad has several tourist attractions like:

Lelystad has many one-day events like the Airshow Lelystad, the Waterfestival, the National oldtimerday, speedwayraces, Architecture day and several sports events. On the Midland Circuit many motor-, karting- and stock car racing events and several autoclub meetings are held. At the coast there are several marinas.


Lelystad has a good infrastructure. Lelystad can be reached by air, water, and land.
  • Air: Lelystad business airport is a small satellite of the national airport Schipholmarker.
  • Water: Lelystad has its own inland port, several marinas and canals that also help to manage the water levels in the polder. One of these lakes is called Zuigerplas, which means "Sucker-lake": it is so named because it is in a hollow that was made by a suction dredger taking sand from the wrong place; near it is a wood called Zuigerplasbos.
  • Rail: Station Lelystad Centrummarker connects the city with Almeremarker and Amsterdammarker. The Hanzelijn is an extension of this line towards Drontenmarker. Kampenmarker and Zwollemarker. There is possibility for a second station in Lelystad - Lelystad Zuidmarker.
  • Motorway: at the eastern side of Lelystad runs the A6 motorway from Amsterdam to the North. Through Lelystad the west-to-east N302 runs from Hoornmarker to Kootwijk.

Shield and flag

honeycomb grid in the arms of Lelystad pictures the dykes, built with six-edged concrete or basalt blocks. The colour gold indicates the high costs of the project of making the polder. The centre shield is the arms of engineer Cornelis Lely. The sealions reflect the history of the land.

In the flag, again the Fleur-de-lis (lily) takes a central point, referring to the name Lely. The yellow (golden) background reflect the precious land, and the blue lines the dykes and waterways.


Lelystad is built on the seabed of the former Zuiderzeemarker. About 6500 years ago this wetland was above the high tide level and inhabited; the Netherlands have steadily subsided since. Nearby Lelystad at Swifterbantmarker, the oldest human skeletons in Western Europe were discovered. Due to rising water levels and storms, the peatlands were washed away, and the Lacus Flevo (Roman times) grew to be the Almeremarker (Middle Ages) and became the Zuiderzeemarker. The Zuiderzee (Southern Sea) was the main transport route from Amsterdammarker to the North Seamarker and the Hanseatic League cities. Thanks to the many shipwrecks in Flevoland, Lelystad now houses the National Centre for Maritime History, with a museum and the shipyard that has built the Bataviamarker replica.

After the Second World War the Zuiderzee Works continued by making the polder of Eastern Flevoland. In 1950 work commenced on several construction islands in the middle of the IJsselmeermarker. Lelystad-Haven was the largest island, and its wooden barracks housed a community of dyke-builders. In 1955 they reached the mainland, which made it possible to drive to Lelystad by car. One of the three pumping stations, which drained the polder in June 1957, was the diesel powered Wortman in Lelystad-Haven. Until 1967 the only inhabitants of Lelystad were technical engineers and workmen and superintendents, living on the former construction-island.

For more information on Lelystad's history, you can visit the Nieuw Land Heritage Centre.


As mentioned above, the Hanzelijn project is a planned railway line from Lelystad to Drontenmarker, Kampenmarker and Zwollemarker.

The Zuiderzeelijn is a railway study-project which could connect Lelystad with Emmeloordmarker, Heerenveenmarker and Groningenmarker. In one variation the Zuiderzeelijn would be a magnetic levitation train line providing a faster connection between Amsterdammarker and Groningenmarker. Another more realistic variation would be a 'normal', electrified train track allowing speeds up to 200 km/h.

Other plans for the near future include the development of the coastal area (Lelystad borders both the Markermeermarker and the IJsselmeermarker) for tourist and commercial purposes.

Born in Lelystad

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