During the last few decades, the Drents Museum was one of the few Dutch museums to collect contemporary realistic art. The museum has over 1.500 works by artists such as Henk Helmantel, Matthijs Röling, Wout Muller, Pieter Pander, Sam Drukker, Douwe Elias, Barend Blankert and Berend Groen.
On November 11, 2010, the ING Bank gave 273 works of art by 51 artists to the Drents Museum. This gift meant that the Drents Museum now has one of the most prominent collections of contemporary realistic art in the Netherlands.
The Drents Museum regularly presents temporary exhibitions in the contemporary Realism department. During these temporary expositions there is no permanent presentation on display.
The Contemporary Realism department is situated in the old part of the museum, on the first floor.