Middenmeer, Netherlands, Europe
Year1932latitude: 52° 48'
longitude: 4° 59'
Initiator(s)Dutch government
Planning organizationDirectorate of the Wieringermeer
Nationality initiator(s)Dutch
Designer(s) / Architect(s)Marinus Jan Granpré Molière
Design organization
Inhabitants4,425 (2020)
Target population
Town websitehttp://wieringermeer.nl/geschiedenis-wieringermeer
Town related links
Literature- Duin, R.H.A. van and G. de Kaste; The pocket guide to the Zuyder Zee project; 1990
- Wal, Coen van der; In Praise of Common Sense. Planning the Ordinary. A Physical Planning History of the New Towns in the IJsselmeerpolders; 1997
- Wal, Coen van der; Villages in the IJsselmeerpolders. From Slootdorp to Zeewolde; 1986

type of New Town: > scale of autonomy
New Town
Company Town
> client
Private Corporation
Public Corporation
> policy

Map of Middenmeer, 1985
source: Nieuw Land Erfgoedcentrum

Aerial view of Middenmeer, 1934

Middenmeer was inundated by the German troops at the end of the war
source: www.wieringermeer.net/ans ichtkaarten-middenmeer-19 45.html

Middenmeer aerial view
source: Wikipedia

Reformed church by architect G. van Hoogevest, Middenmeer
source: Wikipedia

Original plan for Middenmeer, 1933
source: Nieuw Land Erfgoedcentrum

Middenmeer is located in the Wieringermeer, a polder that was reclaimed in 1927-1930 as part of the Zuiderzee works according to the Zuiderzee Act of 1918. These works include the Afsluitdijk, designed by the famous politician and engineer Cornelis Lely (1854-1929).
The reclamation of the polder was done in a great hurry because of the fear of food shortage. Therefore, they did not even wait for the completion of the Afsluitdijk (1932) which made the work more difficult.

The planning of the polder was done by the government. Every new farmer was given 20 hectares of farming land in a lease system. Four nuclei were built, situated at intersections of roads and canals. First Slootdorp (1931), then Middenmeer (1932) and in 1935 the central core, Wieringerwerf. A final nucleus, Kreileroord, followed in 1956.
The settlements are very close together, within walking distance (max 5 km). Each village housed three churches for the various religious denominations and the corresponding three or four schools, as well as a small industrial area for agricultural industry.

The construction of the Wieringermeer was not undertaken as a purely technical project. In 1927 the renowned, traditional architect Granpré Molière was appointed as aesthetic consultant with the task of designing the settlements within the subdivision already made by the government department, while well-known landscape architects were also hired for the design of the roads, and the yard planting of the farms. The Wieringermeer was seen as an example for the later IJsselmeer polders.

Similar to other villages in the area, Middenmeer had been built as a brinkdorp – a village with a central green, collective area. The spatial lay-out of Middenmeer had been designed by M.J. Granpré Molière in 1932 as a rectangular village on both sides of the main road through the polder. The simple lay out featured mostly terraced housing on parallel raods. It included schools and churches for four religious denominations, amongst them reformed and catholic.
Of the four villages in the Wieringermeer, Middenmeer was meant to become the trade centre for agricultural industry. For that goal, it had a grain exchange.

However, Middenmeer thanks its current formal characteristics not to the early design by Granpré Molière, but to a dramatic turn of events in 1945. In the final year of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, the Wehrmacht purposefully flooded the Wieringermeerpolder to prevent a potential allied landing from the air. This event left Middenmeer as well as surrounding villages devastated. As such, much of the current state of Middenmeer is the product of post-war reconstruction and development.

In the post-war era, Middenmeer expanded eastwards in the late 1960s and early 1970s with the construction of the Bomenbuurt which was made up out of different variations of two-storied terraced houses. Next, various neighbourhoods were added and/or replaced.

In 1975, the Moedermavo was founded in Middenmeer. Initiated by Anton Remmers, the intention of the school was to facilitate ‘second-chance education’ and provide the opportunity for adults (notably women) to acquire a highschool diploma in a later stage of their lives. Since the school in Middenmeer was the first of its kind in the Netherlands, both domestic and foreign journalists flocked to the small village to report on this new experiment in education.

source: INTI

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