Zuider Zee zī´dər zē, zā, Du. zoi´dər zā [key], former shallow inlet of the North Sea, c.80 mi (130 km) long, indenting NE Netherlands. In ancient times Lake Flevo, it was joined to the North Sea by a great flood in the 13th cent. A vast drainage project, begun in 1920, split the old Zuider Zee into the IJsselmeer, S of the IJsselmeer dam, and the Waddenzee, between the dam and the West Frisian Islands. Large areas of the IJsselmeer have since been reclaimed for farm lands and urban expansion.
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