Biking the Wide Green Yonder -- The bicycle might have been invented with Drenthe in mind. A myriad of bike paths, signed routes, and remote byways lead deep into the heart of farming country, heathland, and forest. Local tourist offices have details of suggested bicycling routes. Other routes touch the main towns, Assen and Emmen, and yet others weave in and out of hunebed territory.
Stone Age Giants -- Drenthe can count more than 50 Stone Age chambered tombs or temples called hunebedden on its territory. These fascinating monuments consist of large, free-standing stones, or megaliths, often capped by lateral stones. They are scattered along a stretch of scenic, relatively high ground known as the Hondsrug (Dog's Back). The terminal moraine of a long-vanished Ice Age glacier, the Hondsrug's rugged spine angles northwest from Emmen to the southeastern edge of Groningen. Discoveries of pottery, tools, jewelry, and other items have enabled archaeologists to date the tombs to around 3400 B.C., and to attribute their construction to the farming communities of the Funnel-Beaker Culture, so-called after the characteristic style of pottery they created.
The most interesting hunebedden are along N34, the Emmen-Groningen highway, in the northern reaches of Emmen itself and around the pretty Hondsrug villages of Odoorn, Borger, Rolde, Eext, Annen, and Anloo. The VVV tourist offices in Emmen and Assen have details on where they are and how to get to them. Equally worth a visit is the National Hunebedden Information Center, Bronnegerstraat 12 (tel. 0599/236-374; www.hunebedcentrum.nl), in Borger, open Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 5pm (closed Jan 1, Dec 25 and 31). Close to the center is the largest hunebed, #D27, which has nine capstones still in place.
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