Cornelis Lely ( born September 23, 1854 in Amsterdam, † January 22, 1929 in 's- Gravenhage ) was a Dutch hydraulic engineer and from 1902 to 1905 governor of Suriname. He was a graduate engineer of the former Technical University of Delft. The same TH 1907 awarded him an honorary doctorate.
Lely was instrumental in carrying out the feasibility study of the Zuiderzee. Between 1886 and 1891 he showed with a team that the partial draining of the Zuider Zee and the formation of polders there is technically possible.
Lely was in the years 1891-1894, 1897-1901 and 1913-1918 Minister of Transport and Water Management. The decisive factor for the implementation of its plans in the Zuider Zee was the Great Flood of 1916.
After Cornelis Lely, the city Lelystad in the Netherlands and was named Marienburg in Suriname.