Drachten is a major town of 40,000 inhabitants, located in the middle of the Dutch province Friesland, in between Leeuwarden and Heerenveen. It was formed in the 17th century from the two villages North and South Drachten. The two villages were separated by a canal, but the waterway was reclaimed early in the 20th century to facilitate transportation between the two parts.
Although Drachten does not have city rights, it has grown into an important centre with city-like characteristics. The natural surroundings include a unique combination of Frisian landscapes with lakes, woods, and green, flat countryland. The older part of town has been renovated recently to represent the original style from the beginning of the 20th century.
Drachten is an important cultural center in the north of the Netherlands. Its theatre De Lawei is reputedly the largest and most modern arena in the entire region. Museum Smallingerland was opened in 1994 and is located in a former convent in the center of town. The museum exhibits works of Frisian artists, but it also hosts international styles such as De Stijl and Dada.