Until the early nineteenth century, the sparsely populated province of Drenthe, by the German border, was little more than a flat expanse of empty peat bog, marsh and moor. In recent decades, it’s accumulated a scattering of small towns, but it remains the country’s least populated province, whose main pull is its woods and countryside. Its only conspicuous geographical feature is a ridge of low hills that runs northwest for some 50km from Emmen, its largest town, toward Groningen. This ridge, the Hondsrug, was high enough to attract prehistoric settlers whose hunebeds (megalithic tombs) have become Drenthe’s main tourist attraction. Otherwise, Assen, the provincial capital, is a dull place with a good museum, and Emmen, its only real rival, can only be recommended as a convenient base for visiting some of the hunebeds and three neighbouring open-air folk culture museums.

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