Zoetermeer

Zoetermeer

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Zoetermeer (ˈzutərˌmɪːr) is a city in the western Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, in the province of South Holland
South Holland
South Holland is a province situated on the North Sea in the western part of the Netherlands. The provincial capital is The Hague and its largest city is Rotterdam.South Holland is one of the most densely populated and industrialised areas in the world...

. The municipality covers an area of 37.06 km² (of which 2.15 km² is water). A small village until the late 1960s, it had 6,392 inhabitants in 1950. By 1 January 2010 this had grown to 121.580, making it the third largest population centre in the province of South Holland
South Holland
South Holland is a province situated on the North Sea in the western part of the Netherlands. The provincial capital is The Hague and its largest city is Rotterdam.South Holland is one of the most densely populated and industrialised areas in the world...

, after Rotterdam
Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

 and The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

. It is part of the Haaglanden
Haaglanden
Haaglanden refers to the conurbation around The Hague in the Province of South Holland in the Netherlands. This area is prominent in the Netherlands because The Hague is the third largest city in the Netherlands and the country's seat of government.-Usage:"Haaglanden" is sometimes used to refer to...

 conurbation.

The name "Zoetermeer" (Dutch for "Sweet Lake") refers to the former fresh lake north of the town (reclaimed in 1614).

History


In the tenth century Zoetermeer was a small village, primarily home to farmers and fishermen. In the 13th century a village centre was formed, which still exists as the historic Dorpsstraat. Until the 17th century there was a lake, called the Zoetermeer. A reminder of this is the "Noord Aa" at the northern edge of town, an artificial lake was created when tons of sand were needed as building material for the foundations for new housing development, and the area north of Zoetermeer provided a good source.

Until 1935 the village centre was split into two villages, Zoetermeer and Zegwaard. The standard of living at the time was said to be higher in Zoetermeer than in Zegwaard. Seghwaert, an older way of spelling of Zegwaard, is now the name of a neighbourhood outside the old village centre.
Zoetermeer began to grow slightly when the first train service came around 1868. A few decades later the Numico factory started near the station. The real growth started in 1966, when there was an urgent need of houses from people around The Hague. From then they started to build new quarters around the old village centre, so Zoetermeer began to grow and became a city in the meantime.

Although Zoetermeer nowadays has the image of a modern city, there are still remains of the past. Like the old village centre with its small houses and the church with late medieval 15th century clock tower (on picture, wooden top from 1642), and the old farms, surrounded by modern houses nowadays.

Lake Dobbe divides the old town from the new city centre, with the medieval village centre on one side of the lake and the modern high-rise and skyscrapers on the other side.

Neighbourhoods


Zoetermeer is divided into 10 neighbourhoods. Every neighbourhood has at least one (smaller) shopping mall and a tram stop.

These neighbourhoods have the following names (in brackets the year the neighbourhood was designated, although some of the neighbourhood already existed before designation):
  • Buytenwegh de Leyens (1974)
  • Dorp (1962)
  • Driemanspolder (1965)
  • Meerzicht (1969)
  • Noordhove (1986)
  • Oosterheem (1999)
  • Palenstein (1966)
  • Rokkeveen (1987)
  • Seghwaert (1975)
  • Stadscentrum (1978)

Economy



Zoetermeer is a so called ICT
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

-city which means Zoetermeer has a modern infrastructure and a lot of schools that offer ICT-related education. Also 20% of the population of Zoetermeer already has an ICT-related job. Siemens
Siemens
Siemens may refer toSiemens, a German family name carried by generations of telecommunications industrialists, including:* Werner von Siemens , inventor, founder of Siemens AG...

 and Toshiba
Toshiba
is a multinational electronics and electrical equipment corporation headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. It is a diversified manufacturer and marketer of electrical products, spanning information & communications equipment and systems, Internet-based solutions and services, electronic components and...

 also have factories in Zoetermeer. The municipality of Zoetermeer designates a comparatively large part of the budget to computers for schools.

To stress the ICT-tradition of Zoetermeer, the city is the first in the world to have a city hall in Second Life
Second Life
Second Life is an online virtual world developed by Linden Lab. It was launched on June 23, 2003. A number of free client programs, or Viewers, enable Second Life users, called Residents, to interact with each other through avatars...

. Zoetermeer is sometimes referred to as the Dutch Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley is a term which refers to the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California in the United States. The region is home to many of the world's largest technology corporations...

.

Light rail


The former Zoetermeer Stadslijn
Zoetermeer Stadslijn
The Zoetermeer stadslijn is a light rail connection in the Netherlands between The Hague and Zoetermeer.-History:Originally, the line was managed by the Dutch Railways . Since June 2006 it has instead operated as a light-rail line, using trams...

 urban railway was rebuilt as light rail recently. The stadslijn was the only urban railway in The Netherlands. It had 12 stations in Zoetermeer and ran to and from The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

 Central Station
Central Station
-Railway stations:A central station is generally the principal passenger railway station of major towns and cities which have multiple stations, or a station owned by a railway with "Central" in its name, such as the English Great Central Railway....

.

The new light rail
Light rail
Light rail or light rail transit is a form of urban rail public transportation that generally has a lower capacity and lower speed than heavy rail and metro systems, but higher capacity and higher speed than traditional street-running tram systems...

 system is part of the RandstadRail
RandstadRail
RandstadRail network in the southern part of the Randstad conurbation in the west of the Netherlands, connecting The Hague, Zoetermeer and Rotterdam, consists of a metro-like line between The Hague and Rotterdam and two light rail lines between The Hague and Zoetermeer...

 network between The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

, Rotterdam
Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

 and Zoetermeer. Besides the rebuilt Stadslijn, which now has 13 stations, the new line Oosterheemlijn leads to a new suburb called Zoetermeer Oosterheem. It will count up to 30,000 inhabitants when completed, making it the largest quarter of Zoetermeer. The Oosterheemlijn currently has three stations, but will be extended to Rotterdam in the future via Bleiswijk
Bleiswijk
Bleiswijk is a town and former municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. The municipality had a population of 10,222 in 2006, and covered an area of 21.96 km² of which 0.83 km² is water...

 and Berkel
Berkel
The Berkel is a river in the Netherlands and Germany. It is a right tributary of the River IJssel.The river rises in Billerbeck, near the German city of Münster in North Rhine-Westphalia, and crosses the border with the Netherlands near Vreden and Rekken...

.

Heavy rail


Zoetermeer has two stations on the main railway between The Hague and Utrecht. Zoetermeer-Zegwaard, built when the city was connected by railway in 1868, burnt down in 1906. On its location stands Zoetermeer-Oost. Zoetermeer station, the main station, is more recent.

The HSL-Zuid
HSL-Zuid
HSL-Zuid , is a 125 km-long high-speed railway line in the Netherlands to the Belgian border, with a branch to Breda. Together with the Belgian HSL 4 it forms the Schiphol–Antwerp high-speed railway...

 high speed line from Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

 to Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 passes Zoetermeer on its eastern side. Although there have been proposals to open a station on the line, this seems highly unlikely.

Motorway


Zoetermeer is next to the A12 motorway
A12 motorway (Netherlands)
The A12 motorway is a motorway in the Netherlands. The road connects the city of The Hague, with the German border, near Zevenaar, and the German Autobahn BAB 3...

, connecting The Hague with Utrecht, Arnhem
Arnhem
Arnhem is a city and municipality, situated in the eastern part of the Netherlands. It is the capital of the province of Gelderland and located near the river Nederrijn as well as near the St. Jansbeek, which was the source of the city's development. Arnhem has 146,095 residents as one of the...

 and Germany.

Religion


Zoetermeer is the only place in the Netherlands with a temple
The Hague Netherlands Temple
The Hague Netherlands Temple is the 114th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.The building of a LDS temple in Zoetermeer, a satellite city of The Hague, was announced on August 16, 1999...

 of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is situated near the old village centre.

Entertainment and recreation


This former new town
New town
A new town is a specific type of a planned community, or planned city, that was carefully planned from its inception and is typically constructed in a previously undeveloped area. This contrasts with settlements that evolve in a more ad hoc fashion. Land use conflicts are uncommon in new...

 used to be a suburb of The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

, as many residents worked, shopped and were entertained in The Hague. With the growth of Zoetermeer came a large theatre, mega cinema, and other entertainment such as go-karts
Kart racing
Kart racing or karting is a variant of open-wheel motorsport with small, open, four-wheeled vehicles called karts, go-karts, or gearbox/shifter karts depending on the design. They are usually raced on scaled-down circuits...

, laser gaming, survival centre, and a golf centre. The "Locomotion" discothèque, the first mega disco of The Netherlands, is the oldest of them.

SnowWorld



SnowWorld was the first indoor ski slope
Indoor ski slope
Indoor ski slopes are found in several countries, proving a climate controlled environment can be maintained in which snow can be manufactured using a snow cannon, enabling skiing and snowboarding to take place year-round.-Notable mentions:...

 made of real snow in Europe, opened in 1996. It now has three slopes, of which the 200 metre slope is the longest. Plans are being made to build a new 500 metre slope. SnowWorld attracts over a million visitors each year, making it the most important tourist attraction in Zoetermeer.

Dutch Water Dreams


Dutch Water Dreams
Dutch Water Dreams
Dutch Water Dreams is an Olympic artificial whitewater and surfing centre, near Zoetermeer in The Netherlands. It is the only course of its kind in the country.-Whitewater course design:...

 (DWD) is an artificial Olympic wild water rafting
Rafting
Rafting or white water rafting is a challenging recreational outdoor activity using an inflatable raft to navigate a river or other bodies of water. This is usually done on white water or different degrees of rough water, in order to thrill and excite the raft passengers. The development of this...

 circuit. It is a copy of the one built in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 for the 2008 Olympic Games
Olympic Games
The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition where more than 200 nations participate...

 and is mainly used for training by Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an rafting
Rafting
Rafting or white water rafting is a challenging recreational outdoor activity using an inflatable raft to navigate a river or other bodies of water. This is usually done on white water or different degrees of rough water, in order to thrill and excite the raft passengers. The development of this...

 teams, and also for team building
Team building
Team building refers to a wide range of activities, presented to businesses, schools, sports teams, religious or nonprofit organizations designed for improving team performance...

 and recreation. DWD also has an indoor wave boarding centre.

Silverdome


Silverdome
PWA Silverdome
PWA Silverdome is an arena in Zoetermeer, Netherlands. It is primarily used for ice hockey. PWA Silverdome opened in 2002 and holds 3,500 people.- External links :*...

 is an indoor Olympic ice skating track and convention centre. It is used as a training centre for the KNSB, the Dutch Olympic and world championship ice skaters. Outside the skating season it is used as a convention centre and concert hall and for large raves
Raves
Raves can refer to:* Rave party* Raves, Vosges, a commune in the Vosges département in France* Raves , a 1980s power pop group from Atlanta, Georgia, United States...

.

Indoor Dive


There are plans to build an indoor diving centre in Zoetermeer. 70 m in diameter and 30 m deep, it will be the largest indoor diving centre in the world. There will be a coral reef and underwater caves and a large beach around the edge. 10,000 life tropical fish should make it as realistic as possible.

Parks


Zoetermeer has many parks, the biggest being the "Westerpark" on the west side of town. It is almost as large as Central Park in New York. Other notable parks are the "Buytenpark", the "Aldo van Eijkpark", the "Binnenpark", the "Van Tuyllpark (with Dutch Water Dreams and Aquapark Keerpunt), the "Hoekstrapark", the "Wilhelminapark", the "floriade park", the "Seghwaertse Hout" and the "Seghwaertpark".

At the north side there is a lake, the "Zoetermeerse Plas", often called "Noord Aa" because it is in the Noord Aa Recreational Area. There is a beach along one side of the lake and a marina on the other. Wind- and kite surfing, sailing and fishing are the most popular activities on the lake.

On both the west and east side of the city forests are being planted, called "Balijbos" (west side) and Bentwoud (east side). These forests are intended to form a "natural" barrier between The Hague and Zoetermeer.

Sister cities and twin towns

Nitra
Nitra
Nitra is a city in western Slovakia, situated at the foot of Zobor Mountain in the valley of the river Nitra. With a population of about 83,572, it is the fifth largest city in Slovakia. Nitra is also one of the oldest cities in Slovakia and the country's earliest political and cultural center...

, Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

 Jinotega
Jinotega
Jinotega is the capital of Jinotega Department in the north central region of Nicaragua.-About:The capital city of the Department of Jinotega is the City of Jinotega. The Department of Jinotega produces 80% of the nation's coffee. It has a population of about 51,000 living inside a vast valley...

, Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

 Xiamen
Xiamen
Xiamen , also known as Amoy , is a major city on the southeast coast of the People's Republic of China. It is administered as a sub-provincial city of Fujian province with an area of and population of 3.53 million...

, People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...


External links