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Connecting Almere with Amsterdam proves costly

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE – The huge majority of Dutch immigrants in North America left the Netherlands when the central inland lake, called IJsselmeer (before the 1930s the Zuiderzee), only had the Noordoostpolder carved out of it. Other polders were to be reclaimed in the future but only the two-part Flevopolder was realized before other reclamations were shelved. A dike across the lake, which connects Flevoland’s newly built Lelystad with Enkhuizen, further reduced the size of the IJsselmeer. The severed part of the lake to the south of the dike since then has been called Markermeer with the southern tip having its own identity as the IJmeer. The latter also is dubbed the Blue Heart of the country where authorities envision future generations spending time on recreation and water related sports. While creating a new polder from the Markermeer is no longer an accepted option, other plans involve the IJmeer, including a crossing between Amsterdam and its hard-to-reach bedroom community of Almere, destined to become the country’s fifth largest city with eventually 350,000 residents. According to planners, the proposed lake crossing would cost 4.3 billion euros to build and could take years to become self-sufficient. The cabinet has postponed a decision on this crossing until 2014, while creating a separate entity to review all the options and to create a new plan of action. Another plan involves the Flevo railway, which currently runs between Lelystad, Almere and Weesp where it links up with other routes. The Flevoline is already being extended (as the Hanzelijn) to Kampen and Zwolle. Many would like to see service expanded on this commuter line via the Hollandse Brug as a double railway. Under the current traffic situation, the bridge remains a bottleneck for all other traffic and an impediment to long-range development planning for Almere.