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The Drentsche Aa is an ancient system of streams in Drenthe. It is one of the few stream systems in the country that has barely been influenced by mankind. In other places streams were 'normalised' and straightened over time, but the Drentsche Aa continues to meander through the landscape for a distance of 28 kilometres. The river flows past picturesque angerdörfer, windbreaks, heaths, and forests. This makes the Drentsche Aa a beautiful and particularly unique landscape.
The Drentsche Aa covers a basin of approximately 30,000 ha and formed after the ‘Saalien’, a glaciation that ended about 130,000 years ago. As the earth got warmer, the melting ice formed a system of streams, starting at the Drents Plateau.
From the Zwiggelterveld the water runs down toward the north. It flows past villages of which it carries the name: Amerdiep, Deurzerdiep, Loonerdiep, Taarloosche Diep, Oudemolense Diep, Schipborgerdiep, and Westerdiep, to finally flow into the Noord-Willemskanaal, near the Witte Molen. During this journey, the water covers an elevation of 17 metres.
Parts of the basin of the Drentsche Aa changed after the war as a result of land consolidation and land drainage. Luckily, areas of forest, windbreaks, and a number of heathlands were preserved, including the Ballooërveld. What makes the Drentsche Aa so unique, is that the region is one of the best preserved angerdörfer landscapes in Western Europe. You can find dozens of burial mounds, dolmens as well as Celtic fields there.
Most Beautiful Landscape
In 2002 the Drentsche Aa, together with the Geuldal in Limburg, were chosen as the most beautiful landscape in the Netherlands. In 2005 it was named a National Landscape.
You can find the National Landscape Drentsche Aa in the triangle of Beilen, Borger, and Haren. One of its attractions is the 125-metre long Boomkroonpad that runs between the tops of the trees at a height of seven metres. Between Anloo and Schipborg is the archaeological reservation De Strubben-Kniphorstbosch, with a viewpoint near the former drift sand dune the Kymmelsberg. Of the many dolmens that can be found in this area, the D17 and D18 near Rolde are certainly worth a visit.