Lelystad is a municipality and a city in the centre of the Netherlands, 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 Afsluitdijk, making the reclaiming possible. Lelystad is approximately 5 meters (16 feet) below sealevel. Lelystad is area-wise the largest municipality in the Netherlands. A big part of that area is water: Markermeer and IJsselmeer. Another major area is the internationally famous nature park Oostvaardersplassen, 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:
•The replica of the 17th-century ship Batavia at the Batavia Shipyard.
•Batavia Stad outlet shopping center (Batavia Stad Outlet expansion to the waterfront).
•Hanzestad Compagnie a fleet of historical sailingships
•Nature Park Lelystad
•National Aviation Theme Park Aviodrome
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.
•Airfield Lelystad business airport is a small satellite of the national airport Schiphol.
•The water in Lelystad has its own inland port, several marinas and canals that also help to manage the waterlevels 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. Railway Station Lelystad Centrum connects the city with Almere and Amsterdam. The so-called Hanzelijn is an extension of this line towards Kampen and Zwolle. The 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 Hoorn to Kootwijk.
Shield & flag.
The honeycomb grid in the arms of Lelystad pictures the dikes, built with six-edged concrete or basalt blocks. The color gold indicates the high costs of the project of making the polder. The center 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 dikes and waterways.
Lelystad is built on the seabottom of the former Zuiderzee. About 6500 years ago this wetland was above the high tide level and inhabited; the Netherlands have steadily subsided since. Nearby Lelystad at Swifterbant, 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 Almere (middle ages) and became the Zuiderzee. The Zuiderzee (Southern Sea) was the main transport route from Amsterdam to the North Sea 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 Batavia replica. After World War II the Zuiderzee Works continued by making the polder of Eastern Flevoland. In 1950 work commenced on several construction islands in the middle of the IJsselmeer. Lelystad-Haven was the largest island, and its wooden barracks housed a community of dike-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 Dronten, Kampen and Zwolle. The Zuiderzeelijn is a railway study-project which could connect Lelystad with Emmeloord, Heerenveen and Groningen. In one variation the Zuiderzeelijn would be a magnetic levitation train line providing a faster connection between Amsterdam and Groningen. 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 Markermeer and the IJsselmeer) for touristic and commercial purposes.