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Schokland: former island steeped in history

One of the seven World Heritage Sites in the Netherlands

From our editor Annette Schimmel

Een zomerse dag op Schokland. Foto: Flickr
04-01-2006 Schokland is one of the seven World Heritage Sites in the Netherlands. In 1995 UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) put this former island in the Flevoland polder onto its list of world heritage sites; the first in the Netherlands, and just one of a total of 812 sites around the world.Schokland is seen all over the world as a physical reminder and symbol of the battle against water which the Netherlands have fought through the ages. It owes its inclusion on the list of World Heritage sites to its unique status as part of the cultural landscape. The story of Schokland can be traced back through the physical evidence which remains on and under the ground in the form of mounds, dykes, boats, and traces of its inhabitants. There are 166 known archeological sites on and around the island. In addition to this there are at least 152 mounds and remains of dykes to be found in the vicinity of the island, which show its former outlines, and mirror the gradual loss of land to the encroaching waters as time progressed. The remains of buildings and the old field patterns complete the story of Schokland.

In the olden days

Schokland was formerly a low-lying island in the Zuiderzee. Following a series of violent storms, and the accompanying erosion, in the 18th and 19th centuries life on the island became untenable. The island was evacuated in 1859 by order of King Willem III. After the draining of the Noordoostpolder Schokland finally became 'an island on dry land'.


There are various organised activities on and around Schokland. Examples include classical concerts (almost every week)and exhibitions in the Schokland Museum which show the history of the island and the story of the Noordoostpolder. In addition to this there are several ways to discover the local area: walking and cycling tours, or even a drive in a vintage car.

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Arrangementenbureau Natuurlijk Schokland, organises tours of the area

Schokland Website

About world heritage sites

About Unesco

Complete list of world heritage sites

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Top of pageBack Last updated: 28-08-2017 - Date: 04-01-2006