Friday, 6 July 2007

Neutral Moresnet - and some older Burgundian borders

Now it was time to visit the former Neutral Moresnet and seek out some border markers. My original plan included only the border markers of Neutral Moresnet itself, however I found myself also investigating a few older border markers that date back to the Burgundian/Prussian days.

First a map with the numbers indicating various key spots on my tour. The blue and red lines roughly mark the route that I walked while exploring the hinterland (blue outbound, red inbound) following the well thought out directions provided by the creator of this geocache.

Before we start you might like to take a look at this excellent website about the bordermarkers of Neutral Moresnet - following various links from there will take you to all sorts of other interesting places too :) - but do come back here please...

As I drove down the hill from the BEDENL tripoint I stopped to try and find my first Neutral Moresnet border marker around point number 1 on my map above. The map indicated that it should be fairly close to the road. I was not successful, however I did find the following:

This appears to be an old Burgundian marker - something that I did not realise until later in my expedition when I found some others and thus recognised the style.

The side with the writing:

the back side:

also in the area was another marker (and again I found other similar ones later on) but it had no visible inscriptions and so I am still puzzled as to what it is actually signifying. You can see the marker from the pictures above in the background of the picture, which I took deliberately so as to show both of these markers in relation to each other.

a close up shot - perhaps someone can make out a man made pattern here that indicates something?

Anyway, my main goal today was to visit a few markers that had been used as key points for a geocache called Klenkes 2005 - Grenzsteine - this was a multi that required about a 6.5 km walk around the Neutral Moresnet hinterland and so I decided to use it as my guide for the day.

I parked my car at the point marked number 2 on my map and proceeded to cross the territory towards point number 3. As I approached point number 3 I took this video of the surroundings. By the way - I would be really grateful if someone could let me know if I have pronounced Moresnet correctly - I assumed that the French pronunciation (silent "t" for example) would not be correct but it would be nice to hear from SWK ("someone who knows") - thanks.

Moving north up the trail from point number 3 I encountered my first border marker, number 51 (marked in Roman numerals - LI). Sadly some moron had defaced it - this was not the first time I would see this type of thing regrettably.

Proceeding further north I passed spots where the map indicated there should be other border markers, however they were not immediately evident and I didn't have time or energy to go scrabbling through the undergrowth to look for them. I will leave that for another day, and hopefully can find someone who has exact GPS coordinates for them to make the search easier.

This photo is looking north along the border at point number 4 on my map. The geocache instructions said to follow the path as it forks to the left here - upon some investigation I discovered not only that this was an easier path, but also that there was a notice (obscured by the first bush just to the right of the track in this photo) indicating that no foot traffic was permitted along the border track. Should anyone have challenged me I could have claimed that I had not seen it since it was so well obscured, however, I knew the whole walk would be long enough, and it was already 1715, that I decided to opt for the easier route.

The next marker I found was number 44. This exemplifies really well the unusual style of Roman numerals used. Whereas it would be more common to denote this LXIV, instead the (older) XXXXIIII version is used (complete sideline - you will usually see the IIII version on clock faces as well - see this website from the British Horological Institute for some information on this). This was at the point where my path bent back to the left, a short distance south of point number 5 on my map.

Moving further up the trail I found border marker 41 near point number 5 on my map - more desecration unfortunately.

...and a video of the area:

A short way further north is border marker 40 - it is very difficult to read the numbers on this one as they are so faded.

Next stop is border marker number 37 (I could not spot any of the intervening ones easily). This is at the conjunction of this north-south track and another one that crosses it on a diagonal and which marks the former Burgundian border of 1439. (Point 6 on my map). We shall be heading south-east (uphill) along that track next.

More graffiti I'm afraid - what is it that is so appealing about spoiling things?

The video shows the conjunction of the two border lines quite well I think. If one could condense history I suppose one could call this a tripoint of sorts. The video starts looking northwards and the first view along the Burgundian border path (I say "looking down". but it is actually uphill) is, therefore, to the south east.

Now to head away from Neutral Moresnet towards point 7 on my map. On the way to point 7 we encounter this Burgundian marker partly surrounded by a tree.

This video starts looking north-west, along the trail up which I had just walked from point 6 on my map.

Moving further south-east we reach point 7 where there is another Burgundian marker

This marker is at the conjunction of two paths and there are some more of those unidentified posts around as can be seen in this video.

The geocache instructions had me continue south-east further along this path to collect more information from one of the small memorials that abound in this area in order to calculate the final location of the cache. While there I saw (but did not photograph) some more of those unidentified posts although I didn't see any more clearly identified Burgundian markers along the way. The route I was supposed to take would have returned me the short way back to my car, picking up the cache on the way, but I had omitted to collect some info from the first Burgundian marker and my photos were not sufficiently clear when displayed on my camera screen for me to obtain them that way. So I retraced my steps (red line on my map), crossing the Neutral Moresnet territory again and started to look for the cache near the western border. I was feeling pretty tired by now and failed to find the cache itself (although I have been informed since that it IS there!!) but I did find border marker number 18 instead - so that was a bonus. This is at point 8 on my map.

This view is looking north-ish along the borderline - Neutral Moresnet on the right, Belgium on the left. The marker is in the bottom right hand part of the picture.

Somewhat dejectedly (having failed to find the cache - but now I have another excuse to return some day!!) I headed back to my car and drove into the town of Kelmis (or La Calamine in French) to locate the first and last markers, which are on the main N3 road.

First, to the south west of the town, marker number 1 (point 9 on my map). By the marker, which is on the north side of the road, is this board. I'm not sure whether it is trying to tell me that there is any kind of official tourist location for seeking the stones, I think, however, that it is trying discourage trespass down the track beside marker number (which leads away from the border at any rate)

Marker number 1 - looking north west

The marker and the notice board:

another angle, taken from the other side of the (quite busy) road.

...and a video to put it all in perspective (my comentary says a 360° sweep which was my intention - but it's actually only about 180°):

Last stop is the final border marker, number 60 (LX) - to the north east along the main N3, in a more urban setting:

Another notice board:

and finally a few shots of the stone itself. Interestingly THIS stone is on the south side of the road (something I had not expected even though I had seen photos of it on other websites), whereas the stone number 1 is on the north side of the road. So, somewhere along the line, either the border crossed the road, a stone got moved, or the road was realigned. Does anyone know which of these it is?

Looking south-westwards

Taken standing in front of the notice board:

Time now to head off for my last border adventure of the day - the divided street between the Netherlands and Germany in Kerkrade-Hertzogenrath (and a surprise, for me anyway, at the end).


Anonymous said...

Web design
veyr handy, thanx a lot for this articpe ....... This was what I was looknig for.

Anonymous said...

hi there,
near th road and Burgundian marker 17 the smaller stone is an in between one ...
near Burgundian marker 10-14 the 2 other stones are only district-markers for forest management (here 366 and 367)

Anonymous said...

You call them "border markers that date back to the Burgundian/Prussian days", but I'd rather consider it as Belgian/Prussian days: cf. &
Concerning the background of the Vennbahn, it is goes to the Treaty of Versailles: cf., & more on & The page suggests contacting