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Zoetermeer

Zoetermeer is a city in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. The municipality covers an area of of which is water. A small village until the late 1960s, it had 6,392 inhabitants in 1950. By 2013 this had grown to 123,328, making it the third largest population centre in the province of South Holland, after Rotterdam and The Hague. It is part of the Haaglanden conurbation.The name "Zoetermeer" (Dutch for "Sweet Lake") refers to the former fresh lake north of the town (reclaimed in 1614).HistoryIn the tenth century Zoetermeer was a small village, primarily home to farmers and fishermen. In the 13th century a village centre was formed, which still exists as the historic Dorpsstraat. Until the 17th century there was a lake, called the Zoetermeer. A reminder of this is the "Noord Aa" at the northern edge of town, an artificial lake was created when tons of sand were needed as building material for the foundations for new housing development, and the area north of Zoetermeer provided a good source.Until 1935 the village centre was split into two villages, Zoetermeer and Zegwaard. The standard of living at the time was said to be higher in Zoetermeer than in Zegwaard. Seghwaert, an older way of spelling of Zegwaard, is now the name of a neighbourhood outside the old village centre.Zoetermeer began to grow slightly when the first train service came around 1868. A few decades later the Numico factory started near the station. The real growth started in 1966, when there was an urgent need of houses from people around The Hague. From then they started to build new quarters around the old village centre, so Zoetermeer began to grow and became a city in the meantime.
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