Hunebeds

The hunebeds are the oldest monuments in the Netherlands. They are prehistoric tombstones built by the Funnelbeaker people using boulders transported to Drenthe during the Ice Age. Drenthe has no fewer than 52 hunebeds in a 30-kilometre radius.

Big Five

Since there is so much to discover in Drenthe, you’ll most likely not have enough time to visit all 52 hunebeds. So, we’ve compiled a Big Five list for you to allow you to discover the best of prehistoric history in Drenthe in one fell swoop.

Tip: Combine your visit to the largest hunebed (D27) with a visit to the Hunebed Centre.

 

Hunebed Centre in Borger

Go back to prehistoric times and find out all about the hunebeds at the Hunebed Centre in Borger on the Drentse Hondsrug. At this museum, you’ll be introduced to Funnelbeaker culture and see what life was like in the Stone Age. Moreover, the largest hunebed in the Netherlands is located next to the museum.

Visit the Hunebed Centre

Hunebed facts

Hunebeds are tombstones for mass graves. The dead would be buried with burial gifts such as jewellery, axes, spearheads, and ceramic pots and cups.

People used to think that the hunebeds were built by giants, so-called ‘huynen’, leading to the Dutch name for the hunebeds, ‘hunebedden’.

However, the hunebeds were built by the Funnelbeaker people, who were actually very short people, measuring 1.65 metres in height at most. As such, they could stand upright inside the hunebeds.

The boulders along the side of the hunebeds used to be hidden from view by sand and sods; the hunebeds used to look like elongated hills, with only the tops of the capstones in view.