Lelystad is the capital of the Dutch province of Flevoland. The first residents arrived on September 28, 1967 and Lelystad became a municipality on January 1, 1980. The municipality has 79,284 inhabitants (August 1, 2020, source: Statistics Netherlands). Until the establishment of the province of Flevoland on January 9, 1986, Lelystad was not divided provincially.



Lelystad is named after Cornelis Lely, the spiritual father of the Zuiderzee Works. However, the name was not fixed from the beginning. When after the Second World War it became clear that the polders to be drained would receive a population and care center, it was suggested in the media that this place would be called Flevostad. Not everyone liked this. At the end of 1950 an article appeared in which Kornelis Jansma and Sjoerd Groenman, chairman resp. secretary of the Society 'Flevo' (a research fund and think tank around the Zuiderzee Works) rejected this name on historical grounds and proposed giving Lely credit. They naturally called it 'that should be called after him the most significant place in the new area, which is mainly added to the Netherlands through his actions' and their conclusion was that 'Lelystad' would be the correct name. A Senate Committee pleaded for this name with Minister Wemmers. He responded favorably, but indicated that for a definitive determination, the Zuiderzee Council's judgment would be requested in due course.

The name issue continued. Professor of Human Geography Alida Vlam was asked for advice by the Dienst der Zuiderzee Works, she put forward the name 'Flevo'. Furthermore, the Royal Netherlands Geographical Society was consulted. Even then, at the beginning of 1952, the name Lelystad came back into the picture, but the Zuiderzee Council was internally divided, as was apparent from a letter from the Council of 23 June 1952 to the Minister of Transport, Public Works and Water Management. Half of the members thought that the main center 'could very well be named after Lely, (...) as it is, as it were, the pinnacle of Lely's work'. Others thought that Lely had hardly dealt with 'the questions of habitation and the like', but the same letter also mentioned the counter-arguments. The response came in a letter dated 11 November 1952 from the new minister, Jacob Algera. He thought that in addition to the Lely pumping station, an important object should be connected to the former statesman, namely the 'C-core' projected at the time. "I would like to give this C-core the name Lelystad." The official publication of the decree was in the Government Gazette of December 30, 1952.

A resident of Lelystad is called Lelystedel, Lelystatter or (for women) Lelystadse. In Lelystad, the municipality also generally refers to Lelysteding.



Lelystad is one of the youngest places to live in the Netherlands. As a result, its history is a short, but well-documented one. Lelystad is located in Eastern Flevoland, the third polder of the Lely plan. The Wieringermeer is the first, the Noordoostpolder is the second and Southern Flevoland the fourth. Originally, Lely's Zuiderzee project was to be completed with the Markerwaard, but the fifth polder was never built.

Eastern Flevoland has four residential areas: two villages (Swifterbant and Biddinghuizen), a small urban community (Dronten) and a city (Lelystad). While many villages had been built in the Noordoostpolder, this was no longer considered necessary in Eastern Flevoland due to an increase in scale in agriculture and the increase in car ownership.

In the summer of 1950 a start was made on the construction of the ring dike of Eastern Flevoland. In the middle of the IJsselmeer, the Perceel P dike section was constructed, which had a length of seven kilometers. Work on the rest of the ring dike could be carried out on both sides from Plot P. One kilometer of dike section was widened to 50 to 100 meters. A working harbor was constructed on this widened stretch. A construction pit was also dug for the Wortman pumping station, one of the three pumping stations that were used to drain Eastern Flevoland. A camp was also built where dyke workers and other personnel were housed.

In October 1954 the dyke route between Parcel P and Harderwijk was completed. Plot P was no longer an island. Nevertheless, the widened dike section was renamed Werkeiland Lelystad-Haven. The ring dyke of Eastern Flevoland was closed in September 1956, and in June 1957 the polder became dry. However, the development of Lelystad did not get started; for a long time the city consisted only of the Werkeiland Lelystad-Haven, which corresponds to the current district of the same name. The first inhabitants of the 'actual' Lelystad arrived in September 1967. It then took a long time before Lelystad was seen as a real city. According to the 'outside world' people lived in the jungle in Lelystad. The municipality of Lelystad was established by law on January 1, 1980, with Hans Gruijters as the first mayor.


In the 1980s, Lelystad was faced with an exodus due to construction in the southwest of the Flevopolder Almere. Due to its more favorable location in relation to Amsterdam and the Gooi, this city was more attractive to commuters and other new residents than Lelystad. A period of vacancy and impoverishment followed. In the mid-1990s things changed course. Urban planning insights changed and neighborhoods were restructured. In the Schouw district, entire streets were even razed to the ground to make way for the Hanzepark district. In the meantime, people are living again and building was in full swing until the end of 2009. Lelystad focused on residential environments, and so neighborhoods such as the Golfresort, a neighborhood built in the middle of a golf course, and Parkhaven were created.

Rather than being just a residential city for commuters, Lelystad wants to profile itself as an attractive residential city with attractions, nature and employment. They also want to look for more connections with the Randstad and Amsterdam in particular, because about half of the working population works in and around Amsterdam. This development was prompted by the discussion about the expansion of Lelystad airport. The city center, which dates back to the 1980s, has been completely restructured. Appealing names from the architectural world are contracted to give Lelystad its own identity and self-confidence. Examples are the Agora Theater and the Zilverparkkade.

For the first time in its history, the long coastline is also part of the city. Because of the construction of the Markerwaard for a long time, the city has turned away from the water. Because these plans are definitively off the table, the water is more involved in the city and Bataviahaven becomes a real harbor basin. Batavia Stad expands towards the water. The municipality is also participating in Marker Wadden, a project by Natuurmonumenten to create new (nature) islands in the Markermeer just off the coastline of Lelystad.

Lelystad Airport is being expanded to accommodate part of Schiphol's growth. The enlarged airport may be taken into use after 2020. The new district of Warande is expected to increase the population to 80,000.

The Hanze line, a new railway line between Lelystad and Zwolle, was completed in 2012. Since the end of that year, a train journey between the two cities takes only twenty-five minutes. The north and north-east of the Netherlands have thus come closer to the Randstad in travel time by train. Stations were opened in Dronten and Kampen and Lelystad station was expanded.

Together with the municipality of Dronten and a small part of the municipality of Zeewolde, Lelystad forms the polder Oostelijk Flevoland. This polder is part of the Zuiderzee Works, fell dry on June 29, 1957 and is 4.8 meters below sea level. With a total surface area of ​​765.39 km², Lelystad is the third largest municipality in the Netherlands. Only 234.13 km² of this is land, the rest is water (IJsselmeer and Markermeer).

Lelystad is bordered on the eastern side by the A6. The second thoroughfare that runs through the city is the N307, which runs from Hoorn to Kampen. Besides the largest municipality, Lelystad is a city on the water. Lelystad has many ports for pleasure craft and houses with private jetties.

Street indication
Special numbering has been applied in various districts of Lelystad. There are 24 "districts" with individually numbered streets, followed by the house number, eg Kogge 10-20, Tjalk 15-01, Gondel 17-37 etc. This numbering mainly occurs in the alderman districts (Tjalk, Kempenaar, Gondel, etc.) , in the forest district (Kamp, Zoom, Griend, Horst, Wold, etc.) and in a few streets of the city center (De Veste, De Schans and De Stelling). These neighborhoods were mainly built in the second half of the 70s to the second half of the 80s of the 20th century. This system does not exist in the neighborhoods that were built before (Zuiderzeewijk and Atolwijk) and afterwards (Waterwijk, Lelystad-Haven, Landzinnwijk, Golfpark, Hollandse Hout, Landerijen, etc.). This system of street numbering is quite unique in the Netherlands. It previously occurred in Wijchen (de Blauwe Hof), Zevenaar (Zonegge) and Nijmegen (in the boroughs Lindenholt and Dukenburg) and Zeist (Nijenheim, Crosesteijn, Brugakker).