Reclamation of Land
In the seventeenth century, the center of land reclamation activities was what is now the province of North Holland. During that same period, there were four land reclamation projects in what is now the province of South Holland, with the small Zoetermeerse Meerpolder as the first poldering South of the IJ. Jacob van Wijngaarden, Everardus Vorstius and Johan Pellicorne were the three private initiators.
The Zoetermeerse Meer was a natural lake, which is evident from its oval form. The polder layout was simple in design: the Middelweg ("Middle Road") divided the polder area in two and formed the connection between the villages of Stompwijk and Zoetermeer. Three waterways were dug perpendicular to the Middelweg across the entire width of the polder. Then thirty parcels of land were plotted out parallel to the roadway.
Today the polder still serves as a "green" buffer between Zoetermeer, The Hague and Leiden. A report from 1958 about the development of the West of the Country stated that the city of The Hague could hardly grow further within its boundaries and that space would have to be sought to the East. In that same year, the village of Zoetermeer was designated for expansion. The urban planner S.J. van Embden drafted the master plan in 1963, and the urban expansion area terminated where the polder began. Since then the pressure on the polder from Zoetermeer and Leiden has increased exponentially. However, in 2001 the municipality of Zoetermeer decided to protect the area in the coming decades from urbanization.