Art and culture in New Land
Home to some of the country's best architectural designs, the relatively young cities of Lelystad and Almere are teeming with cultural hotspots. Meanwhile, the Land Art on show throughout the region and the man-made natural spaces make for an ideal day trip.
New Land is home to some epic examples of the movement known as land art. These works by internationally renowned artists were influenced by the newness of the landscape. There are nine pieces of incredible land art that are scattered all across the polder: travel to Lelystad to see world-famous artist Antony Gormley’s Exposure, a 26-metre tall structure of metal beams in the shape of a crouching man. Or the Green Cathedral is a formation of 178 poplar trees, modelled on the Gothic cathedral of Reims by Dutch artist Marinus Boezem. You can tour all works in a day if you’re travelling by car and guided tours take place all summer.
Scattered around New Land you’ll find some impressive street art created by local and international artists. On Weverstraat, Lelystad, a hyper-realistic hand emerges from the depths of the sea in French artist SCKARO’s work. The piece references the 10,000-year-old civilisation that scientists found evidence of at the bottom of the North Sea. In the centre of Almere you will find a permanent artwork by Kamp Seedorf, which serves as a meeting point for locals and a place for performances.
Almere’s modern skyline elegantly fuses modern design with elements of nature. Here you will find work by many world-famous architects, including the iconic undulating designs of Rem Koolhaas and his firm OMA, who conceptualised the pedestrian-friendly planning for the city centre. The new Discover Almere Photography Tour is your guide to the centre of Almere. Download this free interactive audio tour and let photographer Richard Terborg introduce you to the most impressive architecture the city has to offer.
It’s not so long since Almere was underneath the Zuiderzee, hence the ocean reference in this distinctive apartment block. The seven-storey building starts as a rectangular block at one end, but the front heaves outwards at the other end in the shape of a wave, as if the building itself is moving. The outside is covered in layered aluminium sheets, in a grey-green that echoes the colour of the adjacent Weerwater lake. Architect René van Zuuk also designed the striking ARCAM centre for architecture in Amsterdam.
The Kunstlinie Theatre
The Kunstlinie Theatre juts out over the Weerwater lake in a dramatic horizontal slice, like a diving board. Rising out of the 100-metre square slab that forms the base are three blocks, which house the theatre and art centre. The glass facades reflect the water and fill the building with light. Despite the austere, blocky shapes, the combination of materials and the suspended base create a sense of lightness. The theatre was designed by Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa. They chose the stylistic simplicity of transparency and light. The whole building appears to float on the Weerwater which borders the new town centre of Almere, creating a beautiful sight.
Most architects are only too happy for people to admire their work, but this house is hiding in plain sight. The outside is made entirely of mirrored windows, which reflect the landscape so the house blends into its surroundings. This private house is a simple box, but the reflections create shape, movement and depth. Swedish architect Johan Selbing and Swiss landscape architect Anouk Vogel were among the winning entrants in a competition for an experimental housing development. The brief was to create a building that would interact with a woodland location.
A hundred years ago, Flevoland was nothing but water. The Netherlands’ youngest province was drained from the sea in the first half of the last century and officially founded in 1986. The first place to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Netherlands, Schokland is truly unique: it was once an island in the Zuiderzee, but it is now surrounded by land rather than water. Tour the Museum Schokland, which delves into the history of the area, or attend an intimate afternoon concert in the 19th-century museum church.
The attention-grabbing Agora Theater is located in a bright orange building designed by Ben van Berkel in the renovated city centre of Lelystad. Inside you’ll find a theatre and congress centre which form the cultural heart of the city.
Covering 6,000 square metres, the Aviodrome museum covers all aspects of aeroplanes and the development of flight – all the way from the Wright Brothers’ first successful aircraft up to the enormous Boeing 747. Outside, visitors can even explore a 747, gaining an exclusive peek into parts of the plane that are usually off-limits. Investigate the science of flight in the aeroplane laboratory and head to the 4D cinema to catch a film about aviation on the country’s largest film screen! Events and exhibitions are organised at the Aviodrome throughout the year. Look out for special programmes during the school holidays.
As is evident by the sheer existence of New Land, the Dutch pride themselves on their command of the water. One place where you can explore this special relationship is Batavialand, which celebrates everything nautical and provides an insightful look into the exceptional history of the Netherlands’ waterworks. The main attraction is the perfect reconstruction of the 17th-century ship, the Batavia, towering over the wharf. The Flevoland Museum also tells the story of this once-sunken region. A visit allows you to get your hands dirty with an interactive exhibit about the IJsselkogge, a medieval cog ship found on the bottom of the IJssel in 2010, and view an exhibition delving into the 435 sunken ships found when Flevoland was formed. Also, don’t miss the Flevowand, a 40-metre long, handwoven cloth tracing the history of the Zuiderzee from the Saalien ice age to the present day.