Haarlemmermeer

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Haarlemmermeer (About this sound pronunciation ) is a municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. It is a polder, consisting of land reclaimed from water, and the name Haarlemmermeer means Haarlem's Lake, still referring to the body of water from which the region was reclaimed in the 19th century.

Its main town is Hoofddorp. It is one of the largest towns (pop. 70,030) in the Netherlands whose name is not used as the name of a municipality. This town, together with the rapidly growing towns of Nieuw Vennep and Badhoevedorp, forms part of the Randstad agglomeration.

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History

The original Haarlemmer Lake is said to have been mostly a peat bog, a relic of a northern arm of the Rhine which passed through the district in Roman times. In 1531 the Haarlemmermeer had an area of 26.0 square kilometres (10.0 sq mi), and near it were three smaller lakes: the Leidsche Meer, the Spiering Meer, and the Oude Meer, with a combined area of about 31 square kilometres (12 sq mi).

The four lakes were formed into one by successive floods. Villages disappeared in the process. One of those villages was Vennep, which the modern Nieuw Vennep was named after. By 1647 the new Haarlemmermeer had an area of about 150 square kilometres (58 sq mi), which a century later had increased to over 170 square kilometres (66 sq mi). In Dutch, the tendency for lakes to grow over time is called the waterwolf.

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