Dronten is one of the six municipalities making up the province of Flevoland in the Netherlands. It encompasses the namesake town and two villages, Swifterbant and Biddinghuizen, as well as vast expanses of agricultural fields and plains left to nature.
Like much of the rest of Flevoland, Dronten does not have a reputation as a tourist destination, but still has quite a bit to offer to diverse groups of tourists. Families with children can have a good time at Walibi Holland in Biddinghuizen, while those interested in the history of mankind will surely want to learn more of the prehistoric Swifterbant culture.
The part of the Flevopolder that is now Dronten was the first to be reclaimed from IJsselmeer, back in late 1950s. Immediately, plans for the new municipality were laid out, which provided for loose population density. Drawing from the experiences of the Noordoostpolder, it was decided that there should be three population centres within the province: the larger town of Dronten and two villages, named after settlements from early Middle Ages that were roughly co-located - Swifterbant and Biddinghuizen.
As the Flevopolder was drained, important historic and archeological artifacts were unearthed from beneath what was once the bed of the lake, proving that the area that historically alternated between being land or water had settlements even much earlier than was originally thought. It was then established that those belong to what later became called the Swifterbant culture, which inhabited the territories of modern-day Netherlands between about 5300 and 3400 BC. Other artifacts of this culture were also found throughout neighbouring regions, but the name stuck.
In the west of Flevoland, which is closer to the populous Randstad, the cities of Lelystad and Almere were later founded to become the administrative and population centres of the province. Dronten thus remained a relatively less important and more rural province, with less hustle and bustle or striking architecture, but more local charm.
The town of Dronten has a namesake railway station on the Flevolijn/Hanzelijn railway corridor that runs through Flevoland. The only train service that stops in Dronten is, as of late 2012, the frequent (every 30 minutes) Sprinter train from Amsterdam (Centraal) through Almere and Lelystad to Zwolle. You can change at any of the beforementioned locations to a wide selection of trains that can take you pretty much all over the Netherlands.
As the municipality of Dronten is relatively large with small population centres and relatively little few transportation options, arriving and exploring it by car is a sound option.
The A6 motorway that traverses Flevoland passes Dronten via its northern coast. From the A6, you can take any of the local roads into the province. The A6 is perhaps the fastest way to get to Dronten from South Holland, North Holland, Utrecht or Friesland, as it connects directly to major thoroughfares in those provinces.
From Overijssel, you can go directly to Dronten via the bridge on road N307 that starts in Kampen. From Gelderland, you take bridges in Elburg (N309), Harderwijk (N302) and Nijkerk (N301). The latter two bridges will land you in the municipality of Zeewolde on the Flevopolder - from there, turn north into N305, which leads to Dronten.
There are two interregional bus lines that connect Dronten to other Dutch provinces:
- line 143 to Kampen in Overijssel
- line 147 to Harderwijk in Gelderland, via Biddinghuizen
- line 247, the Walibi Express [dead link], goes from Harderwijk to Walibi Holland in Biddinghuizen (not reaching the town of Dronten)
Those buses run infrequently and are generally limited to peak periods. Unless you start your trip to Dronten from the said municipalities, you will probably be better off arriving by train.
Droten is surrounded by bodies of water, so if you have a boat, you can take the opportunity to sail into the marinas of Ketelhaven or Brembergse Hoek.
There town of Dronten has two bus lines, 21 and 22 which do not leave the town borders. The only public transportation option to travel between Dronten, Swifterbant and Biddinghuizen is using the abovementioned regional bus lines 145, 147 and 163.
If you like long-distance biking, pedalling across Dronten will be perfect for you.
The typical Dutch countryside in overdrive, but with the power-generating windmills rather than the traditional water-pumping ones.
- 1 Walibi Holland (also known as Flevohof, Walibi Flevo, Six Flags Holland or Walibi World). Late March to late October. Theme parks with roller coasters and other thrill rides. Highlights include the Goliath, the highest, longest and tallest steel coaster in the Benelux, with max speed of 106 km/h, and the Xpress, a coaster which aunches passengers from 0 to 90 km/h in just under 2.8 seconds and features 3 loops. around €30.
- Play golf at Shortgolf Switerbant
- Go ice skating at FlevOnice in Biddinghuizen
- ... or inline skating over the tarmac track at Leisure World in Dronten
You may come across local farm produce sold in stores.
Eat and drink
For the size of the municipality, there are surprisingly many restaurants, bars and cafes in Dronten and in Biddinghuizen.
Dronten is not big on traditional accommodation options such as hotels, but has plenty of camping grounds. You can also moor your boat at either marina.
You should have no problems with mobile phone coverage, both for making calls, sending text messages or connecting to the Internet.
If you are already in Flevoland, you may want to visit its other municipalities:
- Lelystad offers more family-friendly attractions and can be reached easily by train
- Noordoostpolder and Urk offer more rural landscapes and options to explore the historic heritage of the pre-reclamation period
And, as in any place in the Netherlands, all the rest of the country is not really far away. Simply find your destination on the map and ask 9292.nl how to get there by public transportation.