The IJsselmeer - Holland’s biggest lake -
Afsluitdijk, IJsselmeer
Afsluitdijk, IJsselmeer
Photo: © Noverodus via Pixabay


Covering an area of 1100 m2, the IJsselmeer is the biggest lake in Holland. What is special about the lake is that it used to be the Zuiderzee (South Sea) and was closed off by a man-made dyke, the Afsluitdijk. The lake is fed by several rivers, including the Amstel, the Rhine, the Vecht and the IJssel.

  • The IJsselmeer is the biggest lake in Holland.
  • There are picturesque old fishing villages along the IJsselmeer.
  • Enjoy the recreational options on the water.


The Afsluitdijk or ‘closing dyke’ is a 32 kilometre embankment that closes off the IJsselmeer lake from the Wadden Sea. The road on the Afsluitdijk connects the provinces of Friesland and Noord-Holland. At low tide the water in the Wadden Sea drops below the water level in the IJsselmeer. Water is then run off through the Stevin sluices in Den Oever and the Lorentz sluices in Kornwerderzand.

Water sports

The IJsselmeer is used for transport and fishing but it is also popular for water sports. And the lake supplies tap water for Groningen and Friesland. The lake itself and the many typically Dutch scenes around the IJsselmeer are well worth a visit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Discover the IJsselmeer region

Afsluitdijk, Zuiderzeemuseum, beautiful spots and nature: enjoy a holiday on and around the water!

Did you find this interesting? Discover more