The rivers of Groningen descending from the Drente plateau meet at the capital, whence they are continued by the Reitdiep to the Lauwers Zee (being discharged through a lock), and by the Ems canal (1876) to Delfzyl.
A large part of this has been reclaimed and the sandy soil laid bare, but on the Drente and Prussian borders areas of fen still remain.
In 1876 an agreement was arrived at with Germany for connecting the important drainage canals in Overysel, Drente and Groningen with the Ems canal system, as a result of which the Almelo-Noordhorn (1884-1888) and other canals came into existence.
Thus in Overysel, in addition to the canals already mentioned, the Dedemsvaart connects the Vecht with the Zwarte Water near Hasselt; in Drente the Smildervaart and Drentsche Hoofdvaart unites Assen with Meppel, and receives on the eastern side the drainage canals of the Drente fens, namely, the Orange canal and the Hoogeveen Vaart (1850-1860; 1880-1893).
The Roman Catholic element preponderates in the southern provinces of Limburg, and North Brabant, but in Friesland, Groningen and Drente the Baptists and Christian Reformed are most numerous.
On the east a natural geographical boundary was formed by the long line of marshy fens extending along the borders of Overysel, Drente and Groningen.
The most common plant here is the stiff sand-reed (Arundo arenaria), called sand-oats in Drente and Overysel, where it is much used for making mats.
The cultivation of potatoes on the sandgrounds in the south and the fen colonies along the Stads-Canal invite general comparison with the industries of Drente (q.v.).
M.; pop. (1900) 149551 The province of Drente is a sandy plateau forming the kernel of the surrounding provinces.
Of the fen-colonies in Drente the best known are those of Frederiksoord and Veenhuizen.