Where the waters of the Ijsel Sea once flowed is today the vast, flat land of the youngest Dutch province of Flevoland. Only a few kilometres east of Ens, the small village of Schokland emerges from the landscape. This region is an extraordinary example of the historical reclamation of the land from the sea and Schokland is a symbol of the past struggles of its people to reclaim and protect their land from the power of nature. Even the ancient Romans reported the rising sea levels of this area that caused severe flooding of the land.
Following several disastrous floods in 1859, the last remaining villages were evacuated by Royal Decree. Thus, the inhabitants of this small island of fishermen were forced to leave their homes but, due to the modern construction methods of the 20th century, the area around Schokland was reclaimed from the sea and once again made habitable.
The architecture of Schokland’s old Waterstaats Church was influenced by Calvinism and today it is a museum. Close by, on the former island of Urk, strict Calvinistic customs are still observed and on Sundays, some of the village’s inhabitants still wear traditional costume.
In 1986, Flevoland became the Netherlands' twelvth and youngest province. The reclaiming of the Zuiderzee created more than 165,000 hectares of new land and due to its long fought though successful struggle with the sea, Schokland can once more be approached from all sides!
Global Treasures - History's Most Protected Monuments - Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa's Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world's heritage. Join us as we explore one of these protected monuments.