Zoetermeer is a city in the Western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. The municipality covers an area of 37.05 km2 (14.31 sq mi) of which 2.60 km2 (1.00 sq mi) 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. While now a city in its own right, Zoetermeer started out as a suburb of The Hague and is still a part of the Greater The Hague urban area.

The name Zoetermeer (Dutch for "freshwater lake") refers to the former lake north of the town (reclaimed in 1614). Because the name literally translates as "sweet lake" local residents have dubbed Zoetermeer "Sweet Lake City".

Zoetermeer's economy is primarily dependent and revolving around Information technology. With modern infrastructure, a highly digitised centre called 'het Forum' that houses city hall, the central library and numerous other organisations, and many schools that offer IT-related education, it also is a major software development centre, with many software developers based here. Given the large number of IT companies with branches in Zoetermeer, like Siemens, which has its Dutch Tech Campus in Zoetermeer, and Toshiba Medical Systems Europe BV, it's not surprising that 20% of the population of Zoetermeer has an IT-related job. The local government designates a comparatively large part of the budget to computers for schools.

To stress the IT tradition of Zoetermeer, the city is the first in the world to have a city hall in Second Life.


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