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The Netherlands, Schokland by Sander Christiaan de Vries

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    Description of Schokland

    Schokland was a peninsula that by the 15th century had become an island (see figure 1). During that time people were actually living on the island, but all of them had to be evacuated in 1859. The sea had taken over the island, leaving it of course inhabitable  [1]. This all changed in the 1940’s, when the Zuider Zee started to drain. All of a sudden what was once a small island was now connected to the rest of the Netherlands (see figure 2). Nowadays it’s a symbol for the people of the Netherlands; it’s there to remind the citizens of the struggle against the expansion of the water [1].


    Kaart Schokland 18e eeuw  

    Figure 1: Location of Schokland in the 18th century. Clearly divided from the rest of the Netherlands [4].

    Figure 2: Schokland in the 21th century clearly attached to the rest of Holland [5].


    Figure 3: Schokland from above [6].

    Why is Schokland important?

    The former island Schokland is a symbol of the traditional Dutch struggle against the water. Traces of this battle can be found everywhere on and around the island [2]. Throughout history it has changed from being: part of the sea, an island, a polder, a peninsula and dry land. It was also the first Dutch monument to be on the UNESCO World Heritage list. According to UNESCO, the 'island' in the polder is a place 'of exceptional universal value' [2]. Moreover, they stated: ‘The authenticity of the site resides in its very existence’. For this reason the nomination dossier was named: ‘symbol of the Dutch battle against water’ [1]. A suitable name for Schokland and its surroundings.

    Tourism, Marketing & promotion

    The island of Schokland has a variety of activities to offer, which can be enjoyed by young and old. Not only can people that go here enjoy the beautiful nature on this island, but also learn about the traditional Schokland culture. Like a visit to the Museum of Schokland. Other activities include: bicycle trips, backpacking scouting trips or a visit to the 'De Gesteentetuin'. All of these activities can be enjoyed on your own, or in groups [3].

    In Schokland there are a few organizations that work together on tourism, marketing and promotional activities. Like Toerisme Schokland, the DMO of the area [3]. Gemeente Noordoostpolder takes care of running the museum (Museum Schokland), so the culture of the area can be communicated to this and next generation(s) [3]. Other organizations include: Het Flevo- landschap, Schokkervereniging, Vrienden van Schokland (Friends of Schokland), IVN Flevoland (IVN is an organization that tries to promote sustainability and perseveration), Archeologische Werkgemeenschap, Boerengoed Schokland and Stichting Platform Werelderfgoed Nederland [3]. 

    Managerial Challenges

    In the Netherlands, the land of World Heritage of Schokland is in use by three different parties. Firstly there is Flevoland- landschap; they try to manage all of the islands and the land around it. The Schokland Museum is in the hands of the municipality of Noordoostpolder, they also own the two buildings in the north of the island. Last, but not least, the Schokland Boerengoed is an association that represents all the entrepreneurs in the agrarian sector. These are the farmers of the area, which have been a great influence for the area in the past several years [3]. Think about keeping the lands vital for vegetation to still grow there, and the businesses they are trying to run in the area.

    In 2010 the municipality of Noordoosterpolder was named the site holder of the property of Schokland. But the management part of everything is been done by the Stichting Flevolandschap and Noordoostpolder. It's being management according to a management plan, which has been developed with all parties involved. Beside management by the Flevo Landscape Foundation and the municipality (together they own some 500 hectares), this area is also used by farmers that might own some land themselves [1]. In this plan specific agreements are listed, whoever is responsible for which tasks and issues regarding the preservation of the area. Also management and access, to the area and its surroundings, is part of the plan [1]. It’s a good initiative that makes sure that all the organizations working together have a saying in the development of the area. Implementation, finances, management, activities are all regulated by an integration framework that is stated in the plan [1].

    Reference list

    [1] UNESCO World Heritage Centre (2014) Schokland and Surroundings. [Online] Available at: [Accessed on 13-11-2014].

    [2] Holland Tour (2014) Museum Schokland. [Online] Available at: [Accessed on 13-11-2014].

    [3] Werelderfgoed Schokland (2014) Things to do. [Online] Available at: [Accessed on 04-12-2014].


    [4] Location of Schokland in the 18th century. Retrieved from: [Accessed on 03-12-2014].

    [5] Schokland in the 21th century clearly attached to the rest of Holland. Retrieved from:,5.6909184,10z [Accessed on 03-12-2014].

    [6] Schokland from above. Retrieved from: [Accessed on 04-12-2014].

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    Comments (2)

    Viewing 2 of 2 comments: view all
    Very interesting example, Sander! You structured your article ver well and especially the 2nd part is really appealingly written. “Symbol of the Dutch battle against water" - very intersting and catchy.

    A map and images of the former island and the situation right now would be beneficial to understand the uniqueness of the site and the happening.

    I can imagine that a site that represents the battle with water has serious managerial issues. It seems like they handle it pretty good so far, but maybe you find more sources about that? (The source for this paragraph is missing) What about the marketing and heritage tourism in that area? Is Schokland well know in the Netherlands and do people travel there? Additionally, the sentences could be connected differently, since you start four times with "the (management) plan", what makes it less smooth to read.
    But all in all very interesting case and well presented :-)
    Posted 14:35, 16 Nov 2014
    So who has being affected by the government buying the agricultural land? Who are the stakeholders? You say that there is an integrated framework, whom does it combine and who is part of this framework? It feels like it is something in the air but not in the reality, as you talk about the concrete actions, but you do not really mention the actors? Who are taken actions? Albina
    Posted 23:13, 21 Nov 2014
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