Lelystad is a city and a municipality in the middle of Holland. It is also the capital city of the province of Flevoland. The city itself has only existed since 1967 when the last draining of the water was complete and the land was no longer under the sea. This means that the whole of the city is fairly new and so does not have the historic center that many Dutch cities have. But what it misses in historical context it makes up for in the modern and natural attractions that it has to offer.
The History Of Lelystad
The history of Lelystad is in 2 parts really, the early part when the area was still above water given the lower sea levels of the time. And the later part of it’s history when the area that had been submerged by the rising sea levels, was drained of water and made fit for human habitation again.
Around 4,500BC , this marshy land was inhabited by people who lived off of the land. Indeed It was discovered that some very old skeletons of people, the oldest in this part of Europe, were living at or around Swifterbant, about 13 km from the area that is now Lelystad. But due to rising sea levels this was made more and more difficult. This encroachment of the water led to the peat banks, (peat was essential in these times, as it was cut then dried and used as fuel for cooking and domestic heating) being destroyed by the encroaching sea. In the Roman times this new lake was called, Lacus Flevo. It grew further in the middle ages under the name of Almere and then Zuiderzee.
The Zuiderzee was essential in the middle ages for the transportation of goods to and from Amsterdam and the North sea trading routes. However before the beginning on the Second World War it was decided that the land should once again be reclaimed from the sea. The work was interrupted due to the war, but began again in 1950. They first reclaimed small Island areas on which the workers and officials could live, and with determination they got as far as the mainland in 1955. This allowed the introduction of 3 pumping area’s, that eventually drained the water in 1957
In 1967 the first inhabitants of the new homes on what had once been sea bed arrived and the new town began to thrive. Now it has its own hospital, shopping facilities and a population of around 80,000 people.
Getting To And Around Lelystad
The central train station is right in the middle of the city. There are very good connections to Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, Schiphol Airport, Roosendaal, Dordecht, Almere, Vlissingen, Zwolle, Leeuwarden and Groningen. These stations provide direct and connecting links to almost every area of The Netherlands. If you are traveling by air into Schiphol Airport, then you can get a train straight from the station in the airport to Lelystad.
If you are traveling by car then you can rent one at the airport. You can then take the A6 road which becomes the ring road of the city and as such there are many exits to the area to which you are traveling. You should always make sure that you find a parking meter, or garage as a lot of parking is reserved for residents. There is a very good and efficient local bus service that will get you quickly to most places ion the city. You will need to get an ov-chipkaart from the station to pay for your travel. There is a good, well marked system of cycle paths and it is easy to hire a bicycle in Lelystad. If you would like to hire a taxi, you will find them at taxi stands, such as by the station or you can phone for one, Ozer Taxi, +31 6 30018662, or, VGC taxi, +31 6 44953753.
Although the city does not really have anything in the way of old buildings, or squares, it does have some good attractions to see. The Batavia is a replica of a 17th century ship that gives a great way to learn all about the rigor’s of a sailor of the time. There is also a second ship being built called the Seven Provinces. You can see some of the craftspeople at work on building the new ship. The National Aviation Museum is a great place to visit if you are interested in planes and air travel. It has an excellent collection including a KLM 747 Jumbo jet and a Lockheed Constellation. There is an interesting exhibition of the original Amsterdam Airport building, where you are able to see how differently things worked in those days by comparison to the high tech solutions that are available today.
Shopping And Eating In Lelystad
The outlet center called Batavia Stad has a wide range of shops that sell branded goods at great discounts. There are a lot of boutiques and clothing shops but there is a good range of other shops as well and it is a great place if you want to make savings. If you want to visit a traditional shopping center then De Gordian is a great place to go. It is built over a large area and has an extensive range of shops, as well as restaurants, cafes and even a cinema.
Gorrdian is a very nice family restaurant that has a good menu and very helpful staff. The atmosphere is relaxed and it is a pleasant place that will give you a good dining experience, even after a hard days shopping. Flantus Cafe Restaurant is at the Lelystad Airport and has great views of the runway, so that you can see all that is going on. It is a great place to go after a day at the Air Museum The food is also good with lots of fresh ingredients being used.
Although not being a tourist destination as such, Lelystad has quite a lot to offer the visitor. There are some good and interesting attraction such as a huge wildlife lake and woods and there is also good shopping and restaurants as well.