The border puzzle of Baarle


Baarle could be a normal town in Benelux without any points of interest... if it wouldn't be divided sice 800 years! Into the municipalities "Baarle-Hertog" (BE) and "Baarle-Nassau" (NL). Ther Belgian part spreads over 21 enclaves, of which the two biggest even more contain 7 Dutch enclaves. It shall not be simplified - quite the reverse: In 1995 Belgium and Netherland confirmed the border by a new contract and a new survey.
For us (the Germans), who remember the Berlin wall, order to shoot and 25 marks of obligatory money exchange, Baarle is the ideal place to experience an open border - which won't mean more than a line on the ground and another price of petrol.

Coordinates: 51°26'36''N, 4°55'51''E

First, let's have a look at the map. The green area belongs to Belgium, the orange to - yes, of course:


From outside it looks like a normal town with two churches. They belong to Netherland (left) and Belgium (right).

In the whole town the border is marked by white crosses or dots, and "B" resp. "NL". Here you can walk from Belgium to Netherland, but 30 feet further you'll return to Belgium.
10m Niederland 1

The same road watched from the other direction (from the place where's the car on the other photo). The sign "Baarle-Hertog" marks the entry to the Belgian part. If you keep yourself on the sidewalk, you'll cross the border five times on 300 feet. But if you walk on the left side of the road you'll remain in Netherland.
10m Niederland 2

This small map shows the sites where I took the two photos:
10m Niederland Karte

A slab of bronze reminds the survey of 1995 and shows (as background) the shape of Belgium's part. Of course it was placed on the border (Netherland on the right).
Bronzeplatte 1995

Near the Belgian church this town model is presented, it marks the border by a small gap and flagstaffs.

A sign at the Dutch townhall explains the "two countries' puzzle".

The beverage shop "De Biergrens" ("The beer border") is divided by the border (just as a supermarket for textiles, a perfumery, a Turkish fastfood grill,...). Inside of the shop I crossed the border at least six times. I loaded my beer into the shopping cart in Netherland and paid it in Belgium. By the way: Although this must be the most famous beverage shop in whole Benelux, the cashier didn't speak English.
De Biergrens

My "Bontje" from the beer shop. Note that Nassau and Hertog use the same road names but have their own systems of house numbering!
De Biergrens-Bon

Ten yards south oft the Biergrens there are another two acres of Netherland.
Karte Biergrens

Oh, did they nevertheless build a border fence? No, it's just a security fence in front of a closed shop whose entry is exactly on the border.

No tourist would leave the town without that photo...
Fäße auf der Grenze

The border even crosses a parking site! But it's hard to park in both countries. I tried, but I didn't manage. Only the right indicator is in Belgium...

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zuletzt am 17.07.45 / 29.04.2021 um 12 Uhr 57