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Haarlemmermeer is a municipality situated in the province of North Holland and a polder with a population of about 138 500 in 2007. It has a surface of 185.28 km² of which 5.52 km² are covered with water.

The name Haarlemmermeer means Haarlem’s Lake, referring to the lake which was drained to reclaim land in the 19th century.

One of the busiest freeways in the Netherlands, the A4 from Amsterdam to Den Haag, cuts right through Haarlemmermeer. Other freeways are the A5, from Hoofddorp to Badhoevedorp, A9 from Alkmaar to Diemen and the A44, from Nieuw Vennep to Wassenaar.

The Dutch national railway company serves three stations of the municipality: Hoofddorp, Nieuw-Vennep and Schiphol.

The Ringvaart (Ring channel) is an important waterway for commercial and recreational boats alike. A component of it forms part of the sail route from the Hollands Diep to the IJsselmeer. Several other canals within Haarlemmermeer are Hoofdvaart (Main Canal) and Kruisvaart (Cross Canal).


The original Haarlemmer Lake is said to have been a relic of a northern arm of the Rhine, which passed through the district in Roman time, by then mostly a peat bog. In 1531 the Haarlemmermeer had an area of 26 km² and in its vicinity were three smaller lakes: Leidsche Meer, Spiering Meer and Oude Meer.

In 1643 Jan Adriaanszoon Leeghwater proposed to dike and drain the lake. Similar schemes, among those of Nicolaus Samuel Cruquius in 1742 and of Baron van Lijnden van Hemmen in 1820, were brought forward from time to time. In November 1836 a furious hurricane impelled the water of the Haarlemmermeer to the gates of Amsterdam, therefore on August 1st, 1837 King William I appointed a royal commission of inquiry and in May 1839 the construction work began.

First, a canal was dug around the lake, fittingly called Ringvaart (Ring Canal) and the dug-out earth was used to build a dike, about 30 to 50 m wide, around the lake.

Unlike the historic practice to drain polders using windmills, steam powered pumping stations were exclusively used for the first time. Three steam-engines were built: the Leeghwater, the Cruquius and the Lynden. Pumping began in 1848 and the lake was dry by July 1st, 1852.

Haarlemmermeer became incorporated as a municipality of the province of North Holland on July 16th, 1855. Its first mayor was M.S.P. Pabst.

The first church was built in the same year and in 1877 there were already existing seven.

The roads which traverse the community are bordered by pleasant looking farm houses built after the various styles of Holland, Friesland and Brabant, reflecting the various origins of the farmers.

In 1917 a military airport was built near the old fort Schiphol. Nowadays, this airport is one of the major civilian aviation hubs, using 15% of Haarlemmermeer’s land area.

Sights to see in the Haarlemmermeer area

Stelling van Amsterdam – Defence Line of Amsterdam

Haarlemmermeerse bos – The largest public park in Haarlemmermeer, which includes a large lake for swimming in the summer and a 40 meter high manmade hill called Spotter’s Hill.

Museum De Cruquius

Calatrava bridges – Three bridges designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava in 2004, which are named after three string instruments; Harp, Cittern and Lute.

Municipalities in the Haarlemmermeer region

  • Aalsmeerderbrug
  • Abbenes
  • Badhoevedorp
  • Beinsdorp
  • Boesingheliede
  • Buitenkaag
  • Burgerveen
  • Cruquius
  • De Hoek
  • Hoofddorp
  • ‘t Kabel
  • Leimuiderbrug
  • Lijnden
  • Lisserbroek
  • Nieuwe Meer
  • Nieuwebrug
  • Nieuw-Vennep
  • Oude Meer
  • Rijsenhout
  • Rozenburg
  • Schiphol
  • Schiphol-Rijk
  • Vijfhuizen
  • Weteringbrug
  • Zwaanshoek
  • Zwanenburg