Drought can have large environmental and socio-economic impacts across the globe. Knowledge about the development and recovery of hydrological drought (groundwater, rivers) is a prerequisite to safeguard water availability in the future. The main objective of this research was to investigate the development of hydrological drought for the past and future through a multi-model analysis. Major drought events from the past were identified by the large-scale hydrological models, but their specific characteristics (e.g. spatial extent, onset, duration) were not reproduced correctly. Catchment features, in particular subsurface storage, that determine these drought characteristics were not well represented in the large-scale models. Large-scale hydrological models are an important tool to assess future water availability at a global scale, especially if the increased hydrological process understanding is implemented in these models.