Lake Markermeer, Flevoland & North Holland, Netherlands

Lake Locations:

Netherlands - Flevoland - North Holland -

Also known as:  Markermeer

Markermeer is a lake that was not meant to stay; however, it is now a popular vacation getaway and nature reserve. The nearly 173,000 acre lake was once known as the Zuiderzee, a saltwater inlet of the North Sea. Construction of the Afsluitdijk dike and causeway in 1932 formed the freshwater Lake IJsselmeer. Later, Lake IJsselmeer was split with completion of the Houtribdijk dam and causeway in 1975, forming what is now known as Markermeer and connecting the cities of Enkhuizen in North Holland province and Lelystad in Flevoland province. Today, Lake Markermeer is a freshwater playground in the north central region of the Netherlands, bordering the provinces of North Holland and Flevoland.

In 2004, Lake Markermeer became a protected nature reserve due to its bird habitat. Birds are not the only creatures that benefit from this body of water; nature lovers of all kinds flock to Lake Markemeer to partake in many recreational activities. Markermeer, along with Lake Ijsselmeer, offers many sailing routes for yachtsmen and sailboat enthusiasts. The unpredictability of the water will provide an adventurous challenge and offer different sailing conditions each time boaters venture out. Waves are generally short on Lake Markemeer, and there are days when the water is calm and makes a peaceful day for sailing.

With the waters of Lake Markemeer and Lake IJsselmeer cut off from the sea, fishing which was once a huge industry in many towns along the shores of the Zuiderzee is no longer prosperous. However, the quaint old fishing towns are now tourist attractions and are great places to sightsee. Cobblestone lanes and giant windmills greet visitors as they travel through the towns. Bicycling is very popular and is a wonderful way to see beautiful landscapes and views of Lake Markermeer. A stop in Volendam will provide tourists many restaurants where they can enjoy some Danish cuisine. Afterwards, sightseers can take a ferry from Volendam to Marken, an island on Lake Markermeer. The island is quaint with lush green pastures where it is common to find sheep grazing. Visitors to Marken enjoy the unique island ambience and views of the 1839 lighthouse, the Paard van Marken.

Lake Markemeer visitors who crave city life will find what they are looking for in Amsterdam, at the south end of the lake. Cafes, museums and a canals that run throughout the city will leave tourists eager to see more. Visitors can see the house where Anne Frank hid during WWII, or take a peek at the art hanging in the Van Gogh Museum or the Rijksmuseum. Then they may dine at one of the many fine restaurants that can be found along the canals.

With a city like Amsterdam, it is not hard to find the perfect vacation rental. However, for a more rustic vacation getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city, visitors will find many campgrounds around Lake Markemeer. Campers can enjoy the peaceful atmosphere with close proximity to the beautiful lake.

Cold weather should not discourage people from traveling to the Netherlands or to Lake Markemeer. The cold temperature freezes over many of the canals and rivers that run throughout the countryside, providing miles of ice skating surface. The winter months also provides opportunities for snow sledding, cross country skiing and snow shoeing.

In recent years Lake Markemeer has become a buffer against floodwaters and droughts. When drought hits, the surrounding area of Amsterdam relies on water from Lake Markermeer. Since 1975, silt build-up on the bottom of the lake reduced water quality and wildlife habitat. The government of the Netherlands has tackled this ongoing problem by creating an archipelago of artificial islands from the silt. The islands are called the Marker Wadden for the Wadden Islands off the country’s northern coast.

Visitors from all over the world enjoy Lake Markemeer’s beauty and recreational activities. Friends, families and honeymoon sweethearts can walk along cobblestone lanes, ride bicycles across the dikes, and enjoy the sights and sounds of Amsterdam, nicknamed the Venice of the North.

Things to do at Lake Markermeer

  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Ice Skating
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum
  • Playground

Lake Markermeer Photo Gallery

Lake Markermeer Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Surface Area: 172,973 acres

Average Depth: 9 feet

Maximum Depth: 16 feet

Completion Year: 1976

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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