Flevoland, the Netherlands' 12th and youngest province, is a masterpiece of Dutch hydroengineering. From 1927 to 1932 an ambitious scheme went ahead to reclaim more than 1400 sq km of land – an idea mooted as far back as the 17th century. The completion of the Afsluitdijk (Barrier Dyke) paved the way for the creation of Flevoland. Ringed dykes were erected, allowing water to be pumped out at a snail-like pace. Once part of Overijssel province, Noordoostpolder was inaugurated in 1942, followed by Southeastern Flevoland (1957) and Southwestern Flevoland (1968). The first residential rights were granted to workers who helped in reclamation and to farmers, especially those from Zeeland, who lost everything in the great flood of 1953.
Flevoland's uninspiring main hubs – Almere, Lelystad and Emmeloord – are laid out in unrelieved grid patterns; highlights here are the old fishing villages Urk and Schokland, and Lelystad's maritime- and aviation-focused museums.