It also comprises the former island Schokland, now surrounded by land reclaimed from the sea, which is, together with its surroundings, a World Heritage Site.
The former island of Urk, in the southwest, now surrounded by the Noordoostpolder, is a separate municipality.
At the heart of the Noordoostpolder, where the three main drainage canals intersect, is the town of Emmeloord (1943). Planned from the outset to be the first and the only major town of the polder, it serves as the local governmental and services centre. Ten smaller villages, conceived more as agricultural communities, were planned in a wide circle around Emmeloord, with the distances between them determined so as to be easily reachable by bicycle. The first settlements were Ens, Marknesse and Kraggenburg (1949), followed by Bant (1951), then Creil and Rutten (1953), and finally Espel, Tollebeek and Nagele (1956). From Emmeloord three canals take their water to three pumping stations, the Buma near Lemmer, the Smeenge at Vollenhove and finally the Vissering in Urk. The first two are electrically powered (though connected to different power-plants), the latter one has diesel-engines doing the pumping. Like all pumping stations of the Zuiderzee Works they too were named after individuals who had at some point made a significant contribution to the project.
For history see Zuiderzee Works.