Almere is a planned city and municipality in the province of Flevoland, the Netherlands, bordering Lelystad and Zeewolde. The municipality of Almere comprises the districts Almere Stad, Almere Haven, Almere Buiten, Almere Hout, Almere Poort (under construction) and Almere Pampus (design phase).
Almere is the youngest city in the Netherlands: the first house was finished in 1976, and Almere became a municipality in 1984. It is the largest municipality in Flevoland with 191,495 citizens (9 May 2011), and the 7th largest in the Netherlands. In October 2007, the city council of Almere made agreements with the government to expand the city to 350,000 inhabitants by 2030.
The original plans for the IJsselmeerpolders saw the land being used for agriculture. However, after World War II housing was needed for the rapidly growing population of Amsterdam and two towns were planned in the polders Oostelijk Flevoland and Zuidelijk Flevoland. The town in Oostelijk Flevoland became Lelystad. The town in Zuidelijk Flevoland was still called Zuidweststad on the first sketches, but in the 1970s it became called Almere, named after the early medieval name of the Zuiderzee. The first house in Almere was finished in 1976. At that time the town was still controlled by the Openbaar Lichaam Zuidelijke IJsselmeerpolders (Z.IJ.P.), with a Landdrost. In 1984 Almere became an official municipality. Originally, Almere was envisioned as a town with multiple centres. This idea was later abandoned in favor of allowing neighbourhoods like Tussen de Vaarten to be built. There is also a difference between the way houses are built in the oldest and the newest parts of the city. The housing plan in Almere in the 1970s was basic functionality and a levelling of social status. However, starting in the 1990s more exclusive homes with striking designs were built.