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In the northeast of the Netherlands, wedged between neighbouring Germany and the provinces of Friesland, Groningen and Overijssel, lies Drenthe. This province proves that you for beautiful nature and fine cycling and hiking holidays do not have to go far from home. Because Drenthe is the most sparsely populated province in the Netherlands, there is even more room for natural beauty and recreation. There are three national parks and you will also find some separate nature reserves and forestries. Nature is never far away from your cottage in Drenthe!
Scattered over the province you will also find 52 megaliths. These unique structures, made of enormous boulders, used to serve as prehistoric burial chambers and are characteristic of the province of Drenthe. The buildings date from the period 3350 - 3050 BC. They consist of a number of supporting stones with a capstone on top. In addition to the 52 dolmens in Drenthe, there are also two in the province of Groningen. One of them is located in a forest plot near the town of Noordlaren. The other hunebed is currently shining in the Muzeeaquarium in Delfzijl. Together they form the 54 preserved dolmens of the Netherlands.
Recreation in Drenthe
Despite the relatively small area of Drenthe, there is a clear difference in types of landscapes. The middle of the province, the 'old Drenthe', is characterized by green villages, heathlands and brook valleys where sheep herds are still regularly seen. The lower parts of the province are formed by peat bogs, which were mined for peat extraction until the middle of the last century. Animals that feel at home on the Drenthe heath include the ring snake, peat butterfly, salamander, hawk, Scottish highlander and roe deer.
In Drenthe you won't find many big cities. Small, cozy (green) villages are abundant. The largest and most noteworthy cities in the province are Assen, Emmen, Hoogeveen and Meppel. Here you can visit the TT-circuit, the Drents Museum, the Wildlands Adventure Zoo Emmen and - for lovers of history and history - the Remembrance Centre at Camp Westerbork. For lovers of cycling and hiking there is also plenty to do in Drenthe. Throughout the province are well paved routes, also for mountain bikers and riders.
In the 19th century many canals were built in Drenthe, because the rivers and streams were too narrow for the canal and for the removal of peat. Nowadays these canals are mainly used for fishing and for canoeing and boating. Sometimes this is even possible directly from your holiday home or holiday park! Going out with the children? Then visit a sheepfold or climb the lookout towers in one of the three national parks, about which you can read more below.
Three National Parks
With no less than three National Parks, the province of Drenthe is bursting with natural beauty. There is plenty to discover and see. First of all there is the National Park Drents-Friese Wold. As the name suggests, this nature reserve is located on the border of two provinces: Drenthe and Friesland. Forests, heathlands and drifting sand areas characterize the area. Because of this varied landscape, many animal species have now made the park their habitat. Examples are the stone marten, the buzzard, the raven, the viviparous lizard and the viper. In Appelscha and Diever there is a visitor and information centre, both of which provide a good base from which to move into the Drents-Friese Wold. Here you will find all kinds of information about cycling routes and places of interest, such as a hiding place from the Second World War.
In the province you will also find the National Park Dwingelderveld. Because the Dwingelderveld is the largest wet heathland area in western Europe and because there are special centuries-old cart tracks to be found, it was declared a Natura 2000 area. Various grazers are used to keep the vegetation in check on the enormous heathland and around the many fens. Think of Drenthe sheep herds, traditional Dutch cows and impressive Scottish highlanders. Just like the Drents-Friese Wold, the Dwingelderveld also has a visitor centre. This centre is located near Ruinen and is managed by Natuurmonumenten.
We conclude with the third and last National Park of Drenthe: Nationaal Beek- en Esdorpenlandschap Drentsche Aa. This third largest National Park in the Netherlands is perhaps the most special nature reserve in the province. This landscape is not all about nature, but also about agriculture and quality of life. Because of the high cultural-historical value of the landscape in this area, the protection of nature and culture is given equal attention here. Typical for the area is the Drentsche Aa, one of the few brooks that is almost untouched.
Overnight stay in Drenthe
If you are renting a holiday home in Drenthe, you have a wide range of different types of accommodation to choose from. There are simple log cabins and centuries-old farmhouses in Drenthe, but also tree houses and bungalows can be found in abundance in this province. And how about spending the night in a real sod hut? Plaggenhutten are triangular shaped houses of which the roof is covered with heather flags, leather, roof tiles or reed. This form of accommodation is centuries old. In the past, sod huts were inhabited by the poorest peat workers in Drenthe, Friesland and Overijssel, but today these huts offer a special and adventurous form of holiday celebration.
On our website you can choose from a total of over 300 holiday homes in Drenthe. Whether you want to stay in a forest house, wake up in the countryside or spend the night at the edge of a pond, it's all possible here! Drenthe is a versatile holiday destination with on the one hand beautiful nature for walking or cycling to enjoy, and on the other hand the cultural history where scattered throughout the province many attractions still remind.