The “IJsselmeer” (Lake IJssel) is the largest shallow lake of the Netherlands. It is named after the biggest river, next to the city of Kampen, which drains into the larger lake, the Ketelmeer, that lies downstream of it. This lake drains into the Ijsselmeer. The freshwater inner lakes are located where once the Zuiderzee was.
The IJsselmeer was founded in the year of 1932 when they built a large dam. This dam runs all the way from Noord-Holland to Friesland and measures about 29 kilometres. It was built as a safety dam for the land behind it, because this land was flooded quite often. When ebb and flood where gone, it was possible to place dams and dry out the land behind them. This reclaimed land is what we know nowadays as “polders”.
The depth of the IJsselmeer varies from 2 to 4 metres. The deepest place is near the former isle of Urk, with about 5,5 metres depth.
The former Zuiderzee is furthermore sliced up by the “Houtribdijk”. This dike is connected to the mainland by two locks, one at Enkhuizen and one at Lelystad. The south part of this dike is called the Markermeer and the northern part IJsselmeer. In the original plans they wanted to dry out the Markermeer as well.
Nowadays the IJsselmeer and the surrounding lakes offer a wonderfull place to join in all sort of recreational activities. It is possible to rejoice yourself in all the wonders of nature here, while still enjoying the luxury and safety of a sailingship. Your can have a walk on a dry sandplate, have a wonderful barbecue or swim in the lake for a few houres.
Of course mooring up in one of the Dutch harbours is also a possibility. Around the lakes are many old cities like Hoorn and Enkhuizen with their rich history. Also Amsterdam with her canals or the ecologically rich islands in the Waddenzee are there to enchant you.