Thursday, June 30, 2022

Exhibition Water-Polder-Weerwater in new city Almere (The Netherlands)

Press release

The Almere City Archives Department has put together the exhibition Water-Polder-Weerwater (lake in the center of the city).  By means of photographs, design sketches and letters from the collection of the city archive, the special history of the polder, Almere and the Weerwater is told. The exhibition, in Dutch and English, especially for Floriade visitors, can be seen from July 1st to December 2022. 

The name Weerwater explained: When you put the press release through translation software, Weerwater is translated as Weatherwater. But this is not the proper translation. Weerwater means Water again. The city arose from the water of the IJsselmeer in a polder. And in the city a lake was created, so there was water again.

Water-Polder-Weerwater shows step-by-step how in the 1960s land was reclaimed from the water of the IJsselmeer and how, in the middle of the just-drained polder, a lake was created. How do you actually create a polder? And why a lake in the middle of the city?  The exhibition also takes a look at the primeval forest and the Weerwater Island on the Floriade grounds, as well as future developments around the Weerwater. The exhibition also unravels the story of why the Weerwater is not called Central Lake or Placenta.


The creation of the new city of Almere from the water in four illustrations: the design of the polders, the construction of the dikes, the sketching of the new city, the Weerwater as the heart of the new city. 

During the preparation of Water-Polder-Weerwater, special design sketches by urban planner Teun Koolhaas from 1973 were rediscovered in the archives of the City Archives Department. In addition to a large number of sources from the collection of the city archive, the exhibition also includes photographs from the Flevolands Archief, newspaper archive Delpher, the Bart Hofmeester/AeroCamera archive and Het Nieuwe Instituut (.Museum for Architecture, Design and Digital Culture, where the National Collection for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning is being preserved). 

Water-Polder-Weerwater is aimed at Almere residents who want to know more about the history of their city and at (Floriade) visitors who may not realise that they are walking and travelling on the former seabed of the IJsselmeer. On the wall of Stadsarchief Almere there will be a mark indicating how high the water would be without the dikes.

The exhibition and the accompanying brochure (32p) are bilingual  in Dutch and English. The exhibition is also accompanied by two videos with teh City's godfather Paul de Maar, policy officer , city ecologist Annemiek Eggenhuizen and researcher/artist Krijn Christiaansen.

Information on the exhibition and venue 

Opening times: The Water-Polder-Water exhibition is open from 1 July to December 2022 on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 13.00 - 17.00 and on request at the City Archives venue, Stadhuispromenade 2, 1315 XP Almere, opposite Stadhuis, left side under the library. 

Visit for more information and current opening hours. Eventually the exhibition will be available online.


Thursday, June 16, 2022

Growth Dutch new town Almere seen from the clouds

This book is about the new town Almere in The Netherlands. This city does not count its age in centuries, but in less than 50 years. The first eight families got keys to their cabin chalets in 1975 and the 400 first occupants received their keys to the constructed houses in 1976. It is a city that arose from the water, when in 1964 the construction of dykes began and in 1968 the polder Zuidelijk Flevoland was reclaimed. Almere is the newest city in the Netherlands since 1975 and became a municipality in 1984 and is now the eighth largest municipality in the Netherlands with 230,000 inhabitants.

Unique book 

The book Almere vanuit de wolken (Almere from the clouds) is a large and weighty book. The book contains more than 200 aerial photos in landscape A4 format and weighs almost 2 kilos. It is also a unique book, because the 200+ aerial photographs show the development of the new town Almere from 1964 to 2021. Publishing house Watermerk has made similar books of The Hague, Rotterdam and Dordrecht, but Almere can show its entire history in aerial photos.The book was created as a sequel to the exhibition Almere from Above, organised by the City Archive of Almere from August 2020 to September 2021, with aerial photographs of the development of the city, on display at the City Archive and at three other locations in the city. 

The exhibition showed a limited selection of aerial photos from the collection of the City Archive, from old black-and-white photos from the 1960s to recent colour shots. From these, a selection was made for Almere Boven, which together tell the story of the multi-kernel city and its enormous growth over the past 50 years.

The exhibition showed a limited selection of the 25,000 aerial photographs in the collection of the City Archive Almere. But the reactions to the exhibitions asked for more. That was the reason for Michel Langendijk, together with Bart Hofmeester of Aero Camera and Roel Dijkstra, to research material for a book. Michel Langendijk had been involved in the composition of Almere Boven and Bart Hofmeester (1921-2021), who had made aerial photographs of Almere since 1964. Roel Dijkstra manages the collection of Aero Camera since the death of Bart Hofmeester and he made the actual photos of 2020 and 2021. The book contains a foreword by one of the pioneer urban planner Brans Stassen. There is also a short introduction.

The photos do not form just a series of sequential historical photographs, but show the historical photograph with a current photograph, taken from the same point of view. For example, the eight mobile homes surrounded by a wasteland in Almere Haven are shown with photograph of the present buildings. This editorial formula is maintained throughout almost the entire book.


The book is a nice book for an Almere resident to leave on a coffee table when welcoming visitors, or to give as a present. But the book deserves a wider distribution.

For the early inhabitants of Almere, the book is not only interesting to leaf through and to search for their house (and/or former houses). I had the pleasure of looking for photographs of the Bivak in Almere Harbour with the very first Almere resident, a mobile home owner and police officer Wim Leeman.

(Insert) Mr Wim Leeman indicates where the eight mobile homes of the Bivak were situated; (left) the Bivak, (right) mobile offices.  

But the book can also be used by professionals in urban design and planning such as urban developers, urban planners and architects. For them the book presents the creation and rapid growth of a new town within half a century. The photographs show the development of the city kernels, the green spaces in the neighbourhoods and between the kernels, the infrastructure, the separation of residential areas and industrial estates, the bus lanes and the network of cycle paths. 

Almere from the clouds, compiled by Michel Langendijk, publisher Watermerk BV, Dutch language, EAN 9789078388302, 264 pages, 1853 grams, 39.95 euros