Drenthe is a province of the Netherlands, located in the northeast of the country. It is bordered by Overijssel to the south, Friesland to the west, Groningen to the north, and Germany (districts of Emsland and Bentheim) to the east. In January 2017, it had a population of 491,867 and a total area of 2,683 km2 (1,036 sq mi).


Drenthe has been populated for 150,000 years. The region has subsequently been part of the Episcopal principality of Utrecht, Habsburg Netherlands, Dutch Republic, Batavian Republic, Kingdom of Holland, and the Netherlands. Drenthe is an official province since 1796.

History

The name Drenthe is said to stem from thrija-hantja meaning "three lands".

Drenthe has been populated by people since prehistory. Artifacts from the Wolstonian Stage (150,000 years ago) are among the oldest found in the Netherlands. In fact, it was one of the most densely populated areas of the Netherlands until the Bronze Age. The most tangible evidence of this are the dolmens (hunebedden) built around 3500 BC. 53 of the 54 dolmens in the Netherlands can be found in Drenthe, concentrated in the northeast of the province.

Drenthe was first mentioned in a document from 820, it was called Pago Treanth (Drenthe district). In archives from Het Utrechts Archief, from 1024 to 1025, the "county Drenthe" is mentioned, when Emperor Henry II gave it to Bishop Adalbold II of Utrecht.

Hunebedden are chamber tombs similar to dolmens and date to the middle Neolithic (Funnelbeaker culture, 4th millennium BC). They consist of a kerb surrounding an oval mound, which covered a rectangular chamber of stones with the entrance on one of the long sides. Some have a more complex layout and include an entrance passage giving them a T-shape.

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