Visitors since 21-jan-2010
This article is written for Expats who consider moving to Almere, 20 minutes east of Amsterdam. You might also want to check out the website links on our website, they provide some excellent resources.
The Queen and Almere Celebrating Tradition and Innovation
An EU-Digest special report by Rick Morren
On this final Saturday of April 2006, every Dutch town and city will be the setting for what undoubtedly is the Netherlands’ most enjoyable holiday, the Queens birthday, known in the Netherlands as Queens Day !
Also traditionally on this Queens Day the royal family always visits a city in one of the 12 Provinces of the Netherlands. This year Queen Beatrix will be visiting the Flevoland Province towns of Zeewolde and Almere.
The resulting differences in character are enhanced by wide green zones separating the urban districts. Apart from the road system, an extensive network of bus lanes and cycle paths provide the necessary transportation links between these districts. Four major cores together with Almere Stad form the expanding metropolis. By the end of 2005 Almere already had a population of 170.000 inhabitants.
People From Over 200 Countries
Nel Huttenga at the Almere City Council notes: "When you look at the population of Almere it probably reflects what the Netherlands population as a whole will look like in the future. The city is population is made up by young professionals, upper middle class, students and retirees, people of traditional Dutch origin and ethnic minorities. Almere is truly a multi-cultural city. We have immigrants living here from over 200 countries and about 22% of the Almere population is foreign born."
Almere is also close to two of the largest urban regions in the Netherlands, Amsterdam and Utrecht. It is connected by a direct and fast rail link to Amsterdam and Schiphol, the country’s largest international airport. In addition there are a number of high quality natural features near Almere: a wetland area, lakes, woodlands, and the open spaces of the polder landscape which make living there very enjoyable.
Today the municipality of Almere consists of: Almere Buiten, Almere Haven, Almere Hout, Almere Poort, and Almere Stad. Almere Haven (Almere Harbour) was the first sector to be built. It is characterized by its maze of "spaghetti neighborhoods", designed to encourage social contact, by its many circular roads and cul-de-sacs. Almere Stad (Almere City) and Almere Buiten (Outside Almere) followed shortly, each with its own identity and urban atmosphere. Almere Hout, Almere Poort followed, with several more districts in the planning stages.
The New City Center
For the past 10 years Almere’s downtown has been undergoing a major design phase as the city sought to define its heart. In Almere stad the municipality, investors, developers and interest groups work closely together. The construction is organized in urban blocks. Some of these blocks are
By 2010, the construction of Almere will have reached the outer limits of the current structural plan. The potential need for expansion in the surrounding regions is expected to remain high, and based on statistics Almere will continue growing rapidly.
The Almere Economy: A Fiber-Optic Community
The business community of Almere is represented by VBA (Business Circle Association) and includes more than 700 companies. VBA works closely with the City Council, the Chamber of Commerce and various regional and national consultative bodies. The largest largest employers are, IBM, Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift Europe, Alpha, Leaseplan Nederland, Royal Postal Service, Accenture Technology Solutions. Overall the business structure is versatile and the building and industrial sector are obviously well represented. Almere has been experiencing a strong rise in the number of companies and employees, with the business service sector being somewhat over represented. Some 60 % of the approximate 63,000.00 jobs in Almere are held by locals and the rest by commuters from surrounding towns and villages. The local government wants to achieve a yearly growth of 5000 jobs through 2010, and so far have come close to reaching its targets.
International businesses interested in setting up a company in Almere should know that it is impossible to set up a business in the Netherlands without first registering their company with the local chamber of commerce. Almere has also undertaken a bold plan to attract investment by creating a connected community linked through fiber-optic technology.
Comparing the housing market with other parts of the Netherlands, home prices in Almere are significantly lower than elsewhere, especially urban centers such as Amsterdam.
Education, Culture and Recreation
Education is high on the list of the City Council, and Almere provides a variety of educational choices from primary schools to university, including bi-lingual (English-Dutch), adult and evening education. Approximately 68 % of the population is under 40 and 25% under 19.
Medical Services In Almere
Every neighborhood of Almere has a poli-clinic and pharmacy servicing the residents of that area. Almere Flevo Hospital in the city center provides special care to patients with more serious ailments, including surgery or to those who need to be hospitalized.
Several years ago the Dutch Electronic-Highway Platform (EPN) made an inventory of telecare projects in The Netherlands. It found that the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) tends to reduce the pressure on health care professionals, saves time and delivers better quality for the patient. The research was based on seven projects in which tele-consultation facilities between dermatologists, general practitioners, physiotherapists, ophthalmologists, and radiologists playied a key role. Projects in Almere, Salland, and the Gouda region served as leading models for this inventory.
This means that in Almere, each inhabitant can also have access to his own health portal if he or she has the proper equipment. Authorised health care providers can also consult the data, relevant to their patients. Today almost every general practitioner has become a member of the Care Group Almere. The city has supplied the funding for the development of these personal health care portals. In addition, the municipality of Almere, which likes to promote the city as knowledge base, has also actively stimulated the provision of a contemporary telecommunications infrastructure, including an accelerated implementation of fibre optic to each home address.
Politicians and the Public Find Each Other In the Political Marketplace Of Almere
When Almere citizens party with their queen this Saturday, they will not only celebrate the queen’s birthday, but also the emergence of their vibrant new European city on the world scene.