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 2014, it had a population of 488,957 and a total area of .
Drenthe has been populated for 150,000 years. The region has subsequently been part of the Bishopric of Utrecht, Habsburg Netherlands, Dutch Republic, Batavian Republic, Kingdom of Holland, and the Netherlands. Drenthe is an official province since 1796.
The capital and seat of the provincial government is Assen. The King's Commissioner of Drenthe is Jacques Tichelaar. The Labour Party (PvdA) is the largest party in the States-Provincial, followed by the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA).
Drenthe is a sparsely populated rural area, unlike many other parts of the Netherlands. Except for some industry in Assen and Emmen, the land in Drenthe is mainly used for agriculture.
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. 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 the year 820, it was called Pago Treanth (district Drenthe). 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.
After long being subject to the Utrecht diocese, Bishop Henry of Wittelsbach in 1528 ceded Drenthe to Emperor Charles V of Habsburg, who incorporated it into the Habsburg Netherlands. When the Republic of the Seven United Provinces was declared in 1581, Drenthe became part of it, although it did not gain provincial status until January 1, 1796 due to its poverty.
Shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, the Dutch government built a camp near the town of Hooghalen to accommodate German (Jewish) refugees. During the Second World War, the German occupiers used the camp (which they named KZ Westerbork) as a Durchgangslager (transit camp). Many Dutch Jews, Sinti, Roma, resistance combatants and political adversaries were imprisoned before being transferred to concentration and extermination camps in Germany and Poland. Anne Frank was deported on the last train leaving the Westerbork transit camp, on 3 September 1944.
In the 1970s, there were four hostage crises where South Moluccan terrorists demanded an independent Republic of South Maluku. They held hostages in hijacked trains in 1975 and 1977, in a primary school in 1977, and in the province hall in 1978.