Frame VI     The land is experienced

With the arrival of the inhabitants, a great variety of activities within the polder emerged: working, learning, and relaxing. In short: life. The most important employer in the polder was agriculture and the industry connected with it. The polder was, and continues to be, primarily established as an agricultural area, even though a lot has changed in this sector. Those changes are not unique. Increases in scale, mechanization and the disappearance of mixed companies (arable farming and livestock farming at the same time) can be seen elsewhere as well. Separation of arable farming and livestock farming on a mixed agricultural company usually meant that the farmer continued with arable farming in Noordoostpolder. As a result, the number of dairy farms has decreased significantly. In addition, a processing industry hasn’t risen yet, as a result farm products leave the polder in their raw form.

The potatoes are planted in the fertile polder soil, 2008The potatoes are planted in the fertile polder soil, 2008


Bulb cultivation and greenhouse cultivation has strongly emerged. For the existing agriculture, the cultivation and trade of seed potatoes, which find their way all across the globe, is of great importance. In the wake of agricultural companies, the providing companies, servicing companies and companies focused on commerce established themselves.

Other employment

Apart from agriculture, there has always been other employment available. Due to the disappearance of jobs in agriculture, the importance of the additional employment opportunities has grown. Most of that work is not unique, but the presence of research facilities in the east of the Noordoostpolder is rather special. Space, water and other beneficial conditions created a good climate for these facilities. Nowadays an increasing number of polder inhabitants find employment outside the polder. Thanks to new and improved roads and motorways the polder is better connected to the mainland.

    Terrein van het Nationaal Lucht- en Ruimtevaartlaboratorium in 1959. Terrein van het Nationaal Lucht- en Ruimtevaartlaboratorium in 1959.


Education for the younger inhabitants of the polder was a necessity. Against the wishes of the government, who wanted the education to be as concentrated as possible, every (segregated)“pillar”(of people) in every village got its own school. Aging and depopulation of the villages has eventually led to the collaboration and merging of all these small, separate schools. Specifically, the boards of public and (Roman) Catholic primary education have merged into one foundation. Secondary education in Emmeloord consists of general comprehensive schools with a public and a Protestant-Christian foundation, a categorical school with a (Roman) Catholic foundation and an agricultural college with a Protestant-Christian foundation. Because there is no general (Roman) Catholic comprehensive school, a lot of parents send their children to public secondary education. Nowadays, denomination isn’t the most important reason for choosing secondary education.


From the early beginnings, healthcare for the families of the pioneers was provided. However, this did not mean healthcare was easy to reach; inhabitants of the polder looking for medical treatment initially had to go to a medical post in Vollenhove. The laborers working in the polder also needed medical care. Initially, the profession of general practitioner wasn’t easy at all in the new polder, and they performed a lot of medical jobs to supplement their income. In a later stage, there was a lot of commotion about the hospital in Emmeloord, which has resulted in two clinics on the same road, the Urkerweg.


After school or work, relaxation can be found at the theatre, sports clubs, societies or at parties. Works of art and monuments also contribute to the idea that the polder isn’t  exclusively a business environment. The StEP (Stichting Events Promotion) is organizing some large and recurring events throughout Noordoostpolder. Some events even attract an audience from outside the polder.