Probably the world's strangest border!!

The Dutch Belgian border in Baarle Nassau

Ever seen those famous pictures of a nice café lying just right to the Belgian-Dutch border, noted by a row of crosses? Well this place is no hoax and is located in the Dutch province of North Brabant but is a bit more complicated than simply the "Dutch-Belgian border".

So inside the Netherlands there are a few pieces of land that are actually Belgium (exclaves). Most of them are located some 5km from the Belgian border but a few are further inside. They belong to the Belgian Baarle-Hertog municipality bordering with the Dutch Baarle-Nassau municipality. But it gets even more complicated. The Baarle-Hertog is not a single piece of land but more than 30 of them scattered all over the North Brabant province! There are a few Dutch pieces of land completely surrounded by Belgian and all located in the Netherlands.

What looks like a mess, is apparently the result of land exchanges and treaties that go way back to the middle ages. The borders as they are today were defined by the treaty of Maastricht of 1834. There have been several attempts throughout the centuries to simply swap pieces of land between the two countries but all have failed.

Dutch-Belgian border

Today I am pretty sure that no-one is trying anymore as the town is a tourist attraction and created many jobs. On my walk to the Belgian territory I couldn't help noticing the many Tobacco shops (apparently tobacco is cheaper in Belgium) and the many shops selling fireworks (!). I guess its not legal to sell that stuff in the Netherlands.

Border leading into a store!

Photo credits: Gpahas.

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January 14, 2015


Interesting. I'll have to put that on my list of travel destinations, although Tobacco and Fireworks shops are not my favourites.

January 13, 2015


Ha, thats strange and interresting!

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