Travel Guide Europe Netherlands Drenthe



Exloo in Drenthe

Exloo in Drenthe

© Sjozef

Drenthe is one of the three northern provinces in the Netherlands, together with Groningen and Friesland. It borders to Germany in the east. The capital is Assen and the total population of the province is about 500,000 inhabitants. It is one of the most quiet provinces in the Netherlands and popular with both Dutch and German tourists, especially given the fact that it has some fantastic national parks and great hiking and biking opportunities.




Drenthe is situated at 52°55′N 6°35′E in the northeast of the Netherlands; with to the north the province Groningen, to the west the province Friesland, to the south the province Overijssel, and to the east the German districts Emsland and Bentheim in the state Lower Saxony. Drenthe is the 9th largest province of the Netherlands. It has a total area of 2,683 km2, with 2,639 km2 of land and 44 km2 of water. About 72% of the land or 1,898 km2 is used for agriculture. Drenthe has several heathlands and no significant rivers or lakes. The national parks Drents-Friese Wold and Dwingelderveld (IUCN category II) and the national landscape Drentsche Aa (IUCN category V) are all (partially) located in the province.




  • Assen - capital of Drenthe, once a year the famous TT Assen is staged here.
  • Emmen - old village, nowadays its municipality is larger than Assen, famous for its zoo.
  • Meppel - old town, serving as a junction of waterways.
  • Hoogeveen



Sights and Activities

Explore the Dwingelose Heide or visit the Netherlands' biggest Hunebed in Borger. The International Wooden Shoe Museum in Eelde, near Groningen, is a museum for clogs, clog-making equipment and machinery. It has the largest collection of wooden footwear in the world.

Borger itself is far from interesting, but in the wider region many people spend holidays there. Many forests are to be found here, with little lakes to swim in. This is not a flat region, by Dutch standards, but quite hilly. Also, a large sheep festival is held every year in Exloo.

Orvelte is a park with old houses. Very interesting, it gives a glimpse of the countryside in past centuries. It is free to enter the village, but some sights and activities charge €2-5, parking is €4.

Outside the village of Westerbork was a large transport camp from which many Jews had been transported. This is now a museum.

Rent a bike and explore the region. Visit little villages, have a drink. Take in some food in some of the excellent restaurants you will come across. If you are getting too tired, put your bike on the train. If you head to Westerbork, consider an organized bike tour for an extra dose of history.



Events and Festivals

Koningsdag (King's Day)

In 2013, the Dutch throne was passed on to King Willem-Alexander and what used to be Koninginnedag (Queen's Day) will from 2014 become Koningsdag (King's Day). The date will be changed to the 27th of April, which is the king's birthday. In 2014 however it will be on the 26th of April because the 27th falls on a Sunday. On this day the streets of almost every sizable town in the country come alive with activity.

During the year, there are many events at the TT circuit Assen, with the Grand Prix motorbikes being on of the highlights every year during early summer. The race itself is held on a saturday, but the night before there are huge parties, including a music festival near to the circuit.




The weather in Drenthe is comparable to much of the Netherlands, but both summers and winters are slightly cooler/colder compared to regions more to the south. Check the weather at the Netherlands page.



Getting There

By Plane

Schiphol international airport near Amsterdam is the main hub to and from the Netherlands with hundreds of flights throughout the world. It's about a 2 hour drive from the nearest parts of Drenthe, though it can take up to 4 hours during bad traffic to reach your final destination.

By Train

The main railroad from Utrecht to Groningen crosses Drenthe. Check the Dutch Railways website for more information about schedules and prices to places like Meppel and Assen. More information and integrated door-to-door itinerary advice for all public transport can be obtained for free from 9292OV (Dutch only).

By Car

Drenthe can be reached along good highways from Germany (A37/E233) and from both the south (A28) from the country as well as from Friesland (A32).



Getting Around

Within the province, travel by bus is possible. But the best way to explore is by bike. As there are many little nice villages and small places to visit, it is a good idea to go exploring by bike. Cycleways are found throughout the whole province. As for travel by car, the motorways A28 (E232), A32 and A37 (E233) can be found in the province. Other major (regional) roads are the N33, N34 and N48.



Keep Connected


Internet cafés are not as widespread as you would expect, but you can easily find one in the popular cities. Most hostels, hotels and camp sites have several computers, so you can keep connected with folk at home. Here is a list of internet cafés that could come in handy for travellers. Otherwise, most libraries have lots of computers and prices are around the €2-3 per hour range, although sometimes it can be even more expensive.

Wireless internet access using wifi is becoming more popular and is usually available at most hotels and increasingly at train stations. Also in trains (at least in most first class wagons, but also more and more in second class) and some buses you can use wifi. Finally, places like McDonald's and Starbucks have free wifi, and smaller individual business like cafés and restaurants are on the rise too offering these services. More often than not, these service tend to be free of charge, though there might be a limited time you can use the internet.


See also: International Telephone Calls

The country code for the Netherlands is 31. The outbound international prefix is 00. The general emergency number is 112, like many other countries.
0800 numbers are toll-free and for 09xx numbers are charged at premium rates. Mobile phones have numbers in the 06 range, and calls to cell phones are also priced at higher rates.

From internet cafés, it is also usually possible to make long distance international calls. Like in other countries, telephone booths have almost disappeared, though some are still found around public transport stations, where you can use a few coins to make calls. It is only recommended for local calls.

The cellular phone network in the Netherlands is GSM 900/1800. The main providers of cell phone networks are KPN (Dutch only), T-mobile and Vodafone, who cover the whole country. Other operators, like Hollandsnieuwe, Simyo or Tele2, use one of these 3 networks basically.

It is best to buy a SIM card when in the Netherlands for use in your cellphone, as this usually works out cheaper than using the one from home. If you are planning to study or work in the country and stay for several months, buying a cellphone is the best option. A simple one, sometimes with €10 worth on it, can be bought from around €25. The simplest smartphones are around €75.


The rate for sending a postcard or letter up to 20 grams within the Netherlands is €0.64 (2014). Since 2010 there are stamps available for domestic post which no longer include the value in €. Instead, there are stamps available with either a '1' or a '2' as a substitute for value. The '1' can be used for letters and postcards up to 20 grams, while 20-50 grams require you to use the '2'-valued stamps (or two '1'-valued stamps of course).

Sending items to other EU countries and the rest of the world (there is one price since 2014) will cost €1.05. Stamps are sold at post offices, supermarkets and smaller shops/kiosks; often the place where you buy your postcards can also supply you with stamps.

Sending parcels abroad is more costly. A standard-sized parcel between up to 2 kilograms will cost you €9 for destinations within the EU and €18 (both without Track & Trace) to the rest of the world. Prices with Track & Trace start at €13 and €24.30 respectively. Parcel service is available from major post offices only; standard-size boxes are on sale there as well. For sending parcels, it might be just as competitive and fast to use a company like TNT, UPS or DHL.

If you need to receive mail while moving around, you can have it sent poste restante (to be called for) to a post office of your choice, where it will be kept for a month. If you come to claim it, bring a valid ID, and make sure to have told the sender that the name on the envelope must be an exact match with that in your passport. For addresses of post offices, as well as more information, consult the TNT website.



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This is version 14. Last edited at 10:26 on May 10, 19 by Utrecht. 9 articles link to this page.

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