'GRONINGEN, the most northerly province of Holland, bounded S. by Drente, W. by Friesland and the Lauwers Zee, N. and N.E. by the North Sea and the mouth of the Ems with the Dollart, and on the S.E. by the Prussian province of Hanover. It includes the islands of Boschplaat and Rottumeroog, belonging to the group of Frisian islands. Area, 887 sq. m.; pop. (1900) 299,602. Groningen is connected with the Drente plateau by the sandy tongue of the Hondsrug which extends almost up to the capital. West, north and north-east of this the province is flat and consists of sea-clay or sand and clay mixed, except where patches of low and high fen occur on the Frisian borders. Low fen predominates to the east of the capital, between the Zuidlardermeer and the Schildmeer or lakes. The south-eastern portion of the province consists of high fen resting on diluvial sand. 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. The so-called Boertanger Morass on the Prussian border was long considered as the natural protection of the eastern frontier, and with the view of preserving its impassable condition neither agriculture nor cattle-rearing might be practised here until 1824, and it was only in 1868 that the building of houses was sanctioned and the work of reclamation begun.
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