IJsselmeer (ˌɛi̯səlˈmɪːr; sometimes translated as Lake IJssel, alternative international spelling: Lake Yssel) is a shallow artificial lake of 1100 km² in the central Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 bordering the provinces
Provinces of the Netherlands
A Dutch province represents the administrative layer in between the national government and the local municipalities, having the responsibility for matters of subnational or regional importance. The government of each province consists of three major parts: the Provinciale Staten which is the...

 of Flevoland
Flevoland is a province of the Netherlands. Located in the centre of the country, at the location of the former Zuiderzee, the province was established on January 1, 1986; the twelfth province of the country, with Lelystad as its capital...

, North Holland
North Holland
North Holland |West Frisian]]: Noard-Holland) is a province situated on the North Sea in the northwest part of the Netherlands. The provincial capital is Haarlem and its largest city is Amsterdam.-Geography:...

 and Friesland
Friesland is a province in the north of the Netherlands and part of the ancient region of Frisia.Until the end of 1996, the province bore Friesland as its official name. In 1997 this Dutch name lost its official status to the Frisian Fryslân...

, with an average depth of 5 to 6 m. The IJsselmeer is the largest lake in Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...


The IJsselmeer is a freshwater lake fed through the Ketelmeer
The Ketelmeer , is the tongue of the IJsselmeer into which the IJssel actually drains, it is situated between the polders Noordoostpolder and East Flevoland, and connects the river IJssel to the lake IJsselmeer...

 by the river IJssel
River IJssel , sometimes called Gelderse IJssel to avoid confusion with its Hollandse IJssel namesake in the west of the Netherlands, is a branch of the Rhine in the Dutch provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel...

, which gives it its name. It is mainly fed by water from the Rhine since the IJssel is branch of it.

The internal capitalization in the spelling is because IJ is a digraph
Digraph (orthography)
A digraph or digram is a pair of characters used to write one phoneme or a sequence of phonemes that does not correspond to the normal values of the two characters combined...

 in Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

, possibly a ligature, and sometimes considered a single letter (see IJ (digraph)).

The IJsselmeer was created in 1932 when an inland sea, the Zuiderzee, was closed by a 32 km dam, the Afsluitdijk
The Afsluitdijk is a major causeway in the Netherlands, constructed between 1927 and 1933 and running from Den Oever on Wieringen in North Holland province, to the village of Zurich in Friesland province, over a length of and a width of 90 m, at an initial height of 7.25 m above sea-level.It is...

. This was part of a major hydraulic engineering project known as the Zuiderzee Works
Zuiderzee Works
The Zuiderzee Works are a manmade system of dams, land reclamation and water drainage works, the largest hydraulic engineering project undertaken by the Netherlands during the twentieth century. The project involved the damming of the Zuiderzee, a large, shallow inlet of the North Sea, and the...

, that years later led to the reclaiming of land from the IJsselmeer, thereby diminishing the size of the lake.
In 1975 the IJsselmeer was further split in two by the completion of the Houtribdijk
The Houtribdijk is a dike in the Netherlands, built between 1963 and 1975 as part of the Zuiderzee Works, which connects the cities of Lelystad and Enkhuizen. On the west side of the dike is the Markermeer and on the east is the IJsselmeer...

, now also called Markerwaarddijk because it was originally designed to border the Markerwaard
thumb | right | 250px | The Markerwaard is visible on [[Cornelis Lely | Lely]]'s planThe Markerwaard is the name of a polder in the IJsselmeer that was never built and would result as the total or partial reclamation of the Markermeer...

; this dike runs from Enkhuizen
Enkhuizen is a municipality and a town in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland and the region of West-Frisia.Enkhuizen was one of the harbour-towns of the VOC, just like Hoorn and Amsterdam, from where overseas trade with the East Indies was conducted. It received city rights in 1355...

 southeast to Lelystad
Lelystad is a municipality and a city in the centre of the Netherlands, and it is the capital of the province of Flevoland. The city, built on reclaimed land, was founded in 1967 and was named after Cornelis Lely, who engineered the Afsluitdijk, making the reclamation possible...

. This former southern part of the IJsselmeer is now the hydrologically separate Markermeer
The Markermeer is a lake in the central Netherlands in between North Holland, Flevoland and its larger sibling, the IJsselmeer. A shallow lake at some 3 to 5 m in depth, it is named after the small former island, now peninsula, of Marken that lies within it...


The IJsselmeer functions as a major fresh water reserve, serving as a source for agriculture and drinking water. It also offers plenty of opportunities for various recreational activities.

The province of Flevoland
Flevoland is a province of the Netherlands. Located in the centre of the country, at the location of the former Zuiderzee, the province was established on January 1, 1986; the twelfth province of the country, with Lelystad as its capital...

 was created in 1986 from the polder
A polder is a low-lying tract of land enclosed by embankments known as dikes, that forms an artificial hydrological entity, meaning it has no connection with outside water other than through manually-operated devices...

s reclaimed from the IJsselmeer.

http://www.nethcold.org/nethcold/index.php?c=damsinNL&id=8 http://www.slopeindicator.com/stories/kettelmeer.html.
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