By Elizabeth Kolbert for The New Yorker
Flevoland, which sits more or less in the center of the Netherlands, half an hour from Amsterdam, is the country’s newest province, a status that is partly administrative and partly existential.
For most of the past several millennia, Flevoland lay at the bottom of an inlet of the North Sea. In the nineteen-thirties, a massive network of dams transformed the inlet into a freshwater lake, and in the nineteen-fifties a drainage project, which was very nearly as massive, allowed Flevoland to emerge out of the muck of the former seafloor.
The province’s coat of arms, drawn up when it was incorporated, in the nineteen-eighties, features a beast that has the head of a lion and the tail of a mermaid. Read more >