The province of Flevoland is the crown jewel of the Dutch tradition of reclaiming land from the sea. Visionary designed and conceived down to the smallest detail: from avenue of trees to barn. A unique landscape that we know as the land of skies, light and space. Based on new insights, three different polders were created successively: Noordoostpolder, Oostelijk Flevoland, Zuidelijk Flevoland. A world-renowned ‘Mondrian landscape’, built by the pioneers of the new land.

Pioneers of the future
The spatial quality of the landscape of Flevoland is increasingly more under pressure. Major spatial challenges such as the energy transition and urban expansions leave their mark on the region. Where originally each function was given its own place in the polders, areas are now becoming increasingly multifunctional (hybrid). Without attention and care, this leads to cluttering of the landscape. With a negative impact on the business climate. As pioneers of the future, we must therefore proactively and integrally design the landscape. The Programme Landscape of the Future is the first regional vision for the landscape of Flevoland since the construction of the polders.

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Essence of the vision in four considerations: polder DNA, panoramas, characters, hybrids 
The essence of the landscape vision exists out of four considerations. These are of provincial importance and must be included in every development in the landscape.

Consideration 1: preserve the hydraulic structure as polder DNA. 
Preserve the hydraulic structure as the foundation of the polders and the landscape identity. Make the various parts of it more visible and perceptible: dike (zones), pumping stations, canals, sluices.

Consideration 2: enhance panoramas along long lines. 
Preserver and support the unique experience of the open polder. Strengthen monumental experience axes to guarantee the experience of the open polder panorama. For each of the three polders, this should be approached distinctively.

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Consideration 3: continue to build on the three distinctive polder characters 
Shape the landscape based on the spatial concepts of the three polders. Reinforce this to allocate developments in the landscape and to make the three characters distinct.

  • Noordoostpolder: strengthen the ‘ring of villages’ and planted avenues as a recognisable framework for a changing Mondrian landscape (subsidence, seepage), mark the contrast between old and new land.
  • Oostelijk Flevoland: define the network of polderparkways as the spatial backbone of the polder and as a framework for dynamics, strengthen the green horizon on the Randmeren, develop attractive and accessible city edges.
  • Zuidelijk Flevoland: consider the central rectangular space (‘polder-carré’) and the Vogelweg as spatial constants, in the midst of actively designed hybrid areas, cherish the sublime polder experience in the vast open agricultural heart.
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Consideration 4: actively work on spatial quality in hybrid areas 
Pay extra attention to hybrid areas with high dynamics and where multiple assignments come together. By combining developments here, they won’t get sprawled throughout the landscape. Hybrid areas should be exemplary for innovation and enrichment of the landscape of Flevoland. Places with a successful elaboration of assignments and a distinct spatial quality.

Examples of hybrid areas are:

  • Lelystad coast: a mix of housing, business, climate adaptation and recreation at the Central Lake of the Netherlands.
  • Almere / Zeewolde-Oosterwold: healthy urban living at the gradient of agriculture and landscape.
  • Almere Pampus: modern urban waterfront connected with the Central Lake of the Netherlands.
  • Area south of Emmeloord: land subsidence as a reason for making agriculture more sustainable and to encourage multifunctional land use.
  • Lelystad A6-Airport: urban periphery in which urbanisation, business activity and logistics are linked to climate adaptation and energy.
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Spatial quality of the past, present and future
As a basis for the vision, 24 core qualities of the landscape of Flevoland have been determined, summarised in a catalogue (Handboek Kernkwaliteiten). For example, the hydraulic engineering structure, the Mondrian landscape with its characteristic parcelling, the planting of avenues and canals and the contrast between the old and new land. These qualities form the basis for the renewal and enrichment of the landscape of the future.

Linking vision to major transitions – exemplary elaborations
Based on five themes, major spatial transitions are linked to the essence of the vision and the core qualities of the landscape. This has been elaborated for each polder with illustrative “cuts” through the landscape. These show how assignments and changes can be designed and addressed.

Theme 1: the skyline of Flevoland in the blue heart of the Netherlands 
In the landscape of the future, Flevoland presents itself more strongly to its surroundings with a contrasting skyline. Entrances to the polders form attractive showcases of the landscape. With beautiful dike landscapes and attractive new urban capes on the water. The Markermeer is gaining more significance as the ‘Central Lake’ of the metropolitan region. Due to a robust ecosystem, soft foreshore, new tidal flats and more recreational functions. The network of main waterways that crosses the polders will be strengthened ecologically and recreationally.

Theme 2: changing conditions in agricultural areas 
In the landscape of the future, agriculture will adapt to changing climatic conditions such as soil subsidence and seepage. At the same time, a switch is made to nature-inclusive agriculture. With opportunities for strip cultivation, water-related agriculture and agroforestry. For example in connection with the reinforcement of village and city forests. This supports a mutual relationship between city and agriculture. Restoration of planting surrounding the agricultural premises is given priority and is brought into balance with an increase in scale.

Theme 3: new urban-rural relationships
In the landscape of the future, city and landscape are in balance. Existing green-blue frameworks are strengthened and expanded, and grow along with urban developments. Characteristic long water and green structures of Flevoland form the basis for attractive city edges. With nature-inclusive living environments, space for cycling and walking and an accessible landscape. Large-scale urban developments are linked to existing urban areas and used to enrich city edges and make them multifunctional.

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Theme 4: regional perspective for energy landscapes 
In the landscape of the future, energy landscapes are efficient and carefully plannend and designed. From a regional scale level and long-term perspective. With attention to spatial quality, landscape characteristics, biodiversity and experience. As many roofs as possible are used for solar energy, because solar panels on land have a major spatial impact. Special attention goes to experimenting with new forms of energy generation that are compatible with the open polder landscape (e.g. geothermal energy, heat-cold extraction and storage).

Theme 5: rich and robust green structures 
In the landscape of the future the characteristic avenues, green structures and forests of Flevoland are attractive, resilient and robust. With attention paid to variety, accessibility, natural pest control and biodiversity. Special attention is paid to the preservation and restoration of the main planting frameworks. The ‘ring of villages’ in the Noordoostpolder, the network of polder parkways in Oostelijk Flevoland, the square shaped polder and the Vogelweg in Zuidelijk Flevoland. They provide rhythm, human scale and shelter in the polder.

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Year: 2021
Type: regional vision, landscape, research by design
Client: Province of Flevoland
Size: approximately 2.400 km2
Status: in procedure for formal approval
In collaboration with: Province of Flevoland and Antea Group