Almere

 

Almere is a city and municipality in the Dutch province of Flevoland, in the polder Zuidelijk Flevoland. The municipality welcomed the 200,000th resident in October 2016 and had 214,457 inhabitants on December 1, 2020.

Almere borders on the landward side to the municipalities of Lelystad and Zeewolde. Almere lies on its waterfront on the Gooimeer, IJmeer and Markermeer. The city is, except for the dikes, completely below sea level (2 to 5 meters).

Almere was established in the second half of the twentieth century as the second largest city in the province of Flevoland. The first homes were completed in 1976. In the meantime, it has far surpassed Lelystad, the capital of Flevoland with over 79,000 inhabitants (2020). After 25 years, in 2001, Almere already had 150,000 inhabitants. In 2020, it is the eighth municipality in the country in terms of inhabitants. In the coming period, the city will be able to grow to a number of 350,000 inhabitants.

 

Name
The city of Almere is named after the water called Almere. In the Middle Ages this was a lake or inland sea, roughly where the IJsselmeer is now. According to some, 'Almere' is a Germanic name for 'large lake', with the word part 'mere' being a Middle Dutch form of the modern 'lake'. The Germanic "ala" is closely related to our word "all", which means "whole" (compare: "one and all", "all and all"), and in compound words "great" or "very".

 

The 'Aelmere' is mentioned for the first time in a life of saints about the Anglo-Saxon bishop Boniface. There it is mentioned that in 753 this Irish bishop sailed from the Rhine over a water called 'Aelmere' towards present-day Friesland. Around 1100, a chronicle about the island of Urk is referred to as "Urk in the lake Almere".

The Rijksdienst voor de IJsselmeerpolders (RIJP) initially used the working name 'Southwest city' for the new city. In 1970 the name Almere was chosen, whereby alternative names ('IJmeerstad', 'IJdrecht', 'Nieuw Amsterdam', 'Eemmeerstad' and 'Flevostad') were dropped. The new name was first used in 1971.

History
Originally, the IJsselmeer polders were mainly, or even exclusively, intended as agricultural land. After the Second World War, however, it was realized that the rapidly growing population of Amsterdam in particular should be partly housed elsewhere. For example, two cities were designed in the Eastern and Southern Flevoland polders. The city in Eastern Flevoland became Lelystad. The city in southern Flevoland was still called Southwest City on the first sketches, but was given the name Almere in the 1970s, after the early medieval name of the Zuiderzee.

The first impetus for the construction of Almere was given on September 30, 1975 and the first homes in Almere were completed in November 1976. At that time, the city was still directly managed by the Public Body Zuidelijke IJsselmeerpolders (Z.IJ.P.), with a landdrost at the head. The nationally prescribed building program for the new city consisted of 70 to 80 percent social housing. The Almere Residential Building Foundation was established in 1975 as the client and preparer of housing in Almere, part of the National Office for the IJsselmeerpolders.

At the end of 1979, the general Almere Housing Association was founded on the initiative of landdrost Han Lammers. The idea was that this association would take over the ownership and management of the social rental homes from the SWA and would from now on take care of the remaining construction task for social rental homes in Almere. Completely against the spirit of the times, the Christian housing association Goedestede was set up almost simultaneously, by believers from Almere who hoped to promote more growth in Almere for the new local Protestant church community.

As of 1984, what was left of the OL ZIJP (except the Markermeer) was divided by law into the municipalities of Almere and Zeewolde. The municipality of Almere regards itself as the legal successor of the Public Entity and also carries the same weapon. Until 1986, when the province of Flevoland was established, the Ministry of the Interior took over provincial tasks.

Originally Almere was set up as a city with several centers. This policy has been partially abandoned. Almere Buiten and Almere Stad have grown together through the Tussen de Vaarten district. A changed housing policy is clearly visible between the oldest and the newest residential areas; in the seventies this was aimed at uniformity and functionality, in the nineties it became the trend to build more exclusive and striking homes, for example in the Regenboogbuurt and Eilandbuurt.

The center of Almere Stad, the largest district, expanded considerably after this. In 2006, the first part of the newly built city center Citymall Almere was completed. Its main building is the Citadel, designed by Pritzker Prize winner Christian de Portzamparc. At the beginning of 2007, the new Theater Almere was put into use. The striking building, located on the Weerwater, was officially opened on 8 June 2007 by Queen Beatrix.

On October 3, 2016, the city had exactly 200,000 inhabitants.

 

Traffic and transport

Road traffic
The following major national and provincial roads are located in the vicinity of Almere:

A6 Muiderberg - Almere - A27 - Emmeloord - Joure
A27 Sint-Annabosch - Gorinchem - Everdingen - Lunetten - Rijnsweerd - Eemnes - Almere
N305 Almere - A27 - Zeewolde - Biddinghuizen - Dronten
N702 A6 Almere Stad-West - Hogering - N702 - A6 Almere Buiten

The infrastructure within Almere is characterized by separate infrastructure for bicycles, cars and buses (completely separate bicycle paths and bus track network).

Railways
In 1987, Almere was connected to the national railway network via the Weesp - Lelystad (the Flevolijn) railway, which was completed in 1988, and which has been running to Zwolle (the Hanze line) since 2012. Almere has six stations: Almere Poort, Almere Muziekwijk, Almere Centrum, Almere Parkwijk, Almere Buiten and Almere Oostvaarders. Almere Strand station still existed until the opening of Almere Poort station in 2012. This station was only used for events on the Almeerderstrand.

From Almere Centrum station, intercity trains and sprinters travel in the directions Amsterdam, Utrecht, Schiphol, The Hague, Lelystad, Zwolle, Groningen and Leeuwarden.

City and regional transport
City and regional transport in and around the city is provided by transport company Keolis Nederland and consists of transport with city and regional buses.

The city bus network, branded allGo, has seven bus lines and three night bus lines (nightGo). Five regional lines run under the R-network, one of which is the rush-hour line. There is also a network for high-quality public transport, two other regional lines, a line to and from De Vaart industrial estate with stops where the bus comes on request (flexiGo, line 22), a line to the new Duin district (duinGo, line 24). and two lines to the new Nobelhorst district (nobelGo, rush-hour line 25 and neighborhood bus line 525).