14 - Urban development in the villages: squares, churches, schools, housing and special names.

Most residential areas in the Noordoostpolder were designed in the 1940s and 1950s by representatives of the Delftse School (see also pane 15). The linchpin of this movement was Prof. Dr. M.J. Granpré Molière, who up to 1948 worked as an urban development advisor for the Wieringermeer Board (Noordoostpolder works). The Village Plan dates from 1946, though modifications were added later.

Granpré Molière was very critical about industrialisation and urbanisation. In his designs, he harked back to traditional architecture, hoping the villagers would embrace traditional cultural values.

Marinus Jan Granpré Molière (left) and his comrade Pieter Verhagen at the Bergumermeer lake, August 28, 1925.

The urbanists and architects C. Pouderoyen and Th.G Verlaan, also employed by the Board, were proponents of the Delftse School. 


The final design for Emmeloord was made by Pouderoyen. He designed an urban city centre, situated at the junction of the east-west connection from Vollenhove to Urk and the north-south connection from Lemmer to Nagele. The centre is surrounded by smaller-scale residential areas. It is suppported by the city square 'De Deel' and de 'Lange Nering', a shopping street of 600 metres that is connected to the square.

 The Poldertoren tower as the defining centre of the Noordoostpolder.

Click here for Film: "De poldertoren in Emmeloord".

Each area has a central location, a square or a park. These central locations are usually marked by a special construction project, like a school or a church. 


Verlaan produced the final designs for Marknesse, Ens, Luttelgeest, Bant and Creil. His designs are quite uniform. The village centre is usually linked to the junctions of roads and waterways. The main road goes past a village green, or a grassy field with trees. The 'walls' of the village green are shops, public buildings and residential buildings. Defining elements like churches and schools are spread out across the village. Espel and Tollebeek were designed by external architects, but are based on the same principle as the villages by Verlaan. 

History of design ideas Marknesse.

First design by Verhagen (1940)

Design by Pouderoyen (1943)

Final design by Verlaan (1947)

Rutten was designed by W. Bruin. In order to guarantee proper accessibility to Rutten, Bruin designed two intersecting main roads that would run through the village. Three of the four adjacent quadrants would be for residential buildings, while the fourth quadrant was used for green space. Kraggenburg was designed by P.H. Dingemans, who maintained an interesting philosophy regarding the ideal settlement. This philosophy translated into a polygon, in which the various functions were arranged in a hierarchical system. Instead of a village centre at the intersection of main roads and waterways, Kraggenburg's centre was green.

Out of all the villages in the Noordoostpolder, seven were built as a settlement around a central area, these being Marknesse, Ens, Luttelgeest, Bant, Creil, Espel and Tollebeek. This central area is usually a stretched out 'brink' [village green] with shops, homes, public buildings and sometimes a church along its side. As it were, this brink was akin to a private space, the village's 'living room'. In this case Creil.


Nagele was designed by proponents of the Nieuwe Bouwen [New-Style Construction] movement (see also pane 15). At its centre is a large, park-like space. The four main elements of living, working, traffic and leisure are separated and each is clearly given a spot in the village. A wide, park-like tree line is planted around Nagele. Nagele's architecture deviates strongly from that of the other villages. Proponents of the Nieuwe Bouwen were aiming for a sleek and functional design.

The architects Van Eyck and Van Ginkel produced the final design for Nagele, 1954

"The churches (reformed) in Nagele are at some distance away from each other, spread out across the open green centre. Because they are not situated along a street, they are lacking a visible front and back. On the contrary, each side conveys a powerful architectonic shape, imbued by the wide character of the centre."

Young, upcoming architects of the Delftse School could tap into all of their creativity to make Nagele a pleasant place to live.

Image of Nagele

The light and the air had to be able to penetrate the homes. The architects preferred to use modern building materials like steel, glass and concrete. They also used flat roofing, block-shaped buildings and white facades without ornaments.

Aerial picture of Nagele


In designing the public and residential buildings, the Delftse School architects strived to achieve unity in shape and materials, and in peace and simplicity. The residential buildings are predominantly brick terraced houses with red roof tiles. The front gardens are usually small. The backyards, on the other hand, are deep. The underlying thought was that the villagers would cultivate their own vegetables.

With the exception of Nagele, all villages are mostly built in the style of Delfts red architecture: economical housing blocks with the well-known red brick and orange-red roof tiles. Frugal in its execution, at times with remarkable details. In all villages, these Delft red housing blocks are a typical scene in the village centre and for many villages they constitute the entire appearance.

Housing in the Noordoostpolder is mostly low-rise. Only Emmeloord has high-rise buildings. To enhance the urban feel of the central core, the Board aimed for higher-rise building along the main traffic hubs. So in light of this, double stacked homes were built along the Lange Dreef. These buildings do have a traditional roof.

The three-layer flats from 1957 at the Lange Dreef in Emmeloord are sparsely decorated in the shape of concrete window frames.

Colourful variety

The Board designed virtually no detached homes. There were however some private clients. This led to a colourful variety of detached housing.

Austrian homes at the Acacialaan, 1951.

What stands out are the Austrian homes built in Emmeloord, Marknesse and Ens as well as alongside various country roads. In total, these include some 800 homes of which 100 are built in the Noordoostpolder. They are prefabricated wooden houses that were shipped from Austria to the Netherlands in parts and built-up by local contractors in under a week. The houses are made of a dark-brown wood, covered by red roof tiles. It has everything to do with the lack of funds following World War 2. Austria had a lot of wood, and thus wooden assembly homes, and the Netherlands had other products to offer. The homes were allegedly paid for with Dutch products. Newspaper snippets seem to point towards payment in fish.

Austrian home at the Berkenlaan 6 Emmeloord is a national heritage site.