Lake Flevo

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The region of the Netherlands c. 500 BC.
The region of the Netherlands c. 50 AD.
The region of the Netherlands c. 800 AD. At that time, the lake was called Almere.

Lake Flevo was a lake in what is now the Netherlands, which existed in Roman times and the early Middle Ages. Some geographers believe that this lake was not really a single lake, rather a set of several lakes connected to each other.

From the Indo-European root *plew- "flow",[1][2] the name was transmitted by the Roman geographer Pomponius Mela in describing this region. In his treatise on geography of 44 AD, Pomponius speaks of a Flevo Lacus. He writes: "The northern branch of the Rhine widens as Lake Flevo, and encloses an island of the same name, and then as a normal river flows to the sea". Other sources rather speak of Flevum, which could be related to today's Vlie (Vliestroom), i.e. the seaway between the Dutch islands of Vlieland and Terschelling. This last name is grammatically more probable for a geographical indication, which is why it is assumed that Pomponius confused the declension of the word giving the name Flevo. In fact the Vlie formed outfall from the lake into the North Sea.

Some texts of the middle-ages refer to this lake by the name of Almere. December 14, 1287, in what was called St. Lucia's flood during a memorable storm in Friesland and Holland, the North Sea invaded the freshwater lake, breaking and destroying several dams dunes and transformed it into a bay which was then called the Zuiderzee, meaning South Sea.

In the second half of the twentieth century the Flevopolders and a new province, Flevoland, took the name of the lake which stood there long ago.


  1. ^ Koch, John T. Celtic culture: a historical encyclopedia. 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 1195. ISBN 978-1-85109-440-0. Germanic variants, for example, Flevo (in classical sources) and Modern Dutch Vlie(t) also occur... 
  2. ^ de Vries, J. (1971). Nederlands Etymologisch Woordenboek (in Dutch). *pleu, dat nog voortleeft in lat. germ. Flevo, Flevum, mnl. Fleo, Fli, nnl. Vlie ‘waddenstroom aan de Friese kust’. 

Coordinates: 52°28′45.97″N 5°23′34.49″E / 52.4794361°N 5.3929139°E / 52.4794361; 5.3929139