Thursday, 8 May 2008


A nice sunny evening and a colleague and I took a trip from Eindhoven, where we were at a conference, to visit the two towns of Baarle-Nassau (Netherlands) and Baarle-Hertog (Belgium). While we didn't see all the border attractions in the town we did manage to walk around and spot a few interesting places that I captured on the video below.

To help you navigate around I have included captions for the different streets and here is a local map showing Belgium in yellow and the Netherlands in white. You can click on it for the full size image (about 2MB).

The enclave to the south of town that we visited was H17 - here is a map from the wonderful website, where you will also find lots of other interesting information about Baarle and other Dutch borders. The road we drove down, and where the video is taken from, is the small yellow one that passes through the west side of the enclave (twice), not the red one that forms the eastern border of the enclave. The video is taken from the northenmost border crossing point on that road.

As we were driving south to here from the main part of the town we were passed by two police vehicles with flashing lights, going north. Dutch police in the lead, Belgian police right behind. This got me to wondering about the complexities of policing in this area - I suspect that you typically need to have both police forces operating together to ensure there is appropriate jurisdiction. The idea of the police from one country driving through another country as part of their duty is interesting to say the least.

The video also includes a segment at the end as we drive back to Eindhoven and cross the border from Belgium back to the Netherlands on the main E34 motorway.

To see this video in higher resolution you will need to visit the YouTube page where it resides.

I hope this helps to give an idea of this place and that you found it interesting. Please leave comments to help me improve my trip reports for future trips.


Bill Burke said...

Great video. Did you see any books on Baarle during your visit?

Hugh said...

Unfortunately I didn't have much time to look in bookstores (although Diane did manage to find a luggage store and buy a new suitcase to replace the one Air Canada had destroyed on her way here!!)

Anonymous said...

There is a book that is only available in the Bruna bookstore in Baarle Nassau. It gives all the specialities of B. Title is "Typisch Baarle, de puzzel (uit)gelegd", publishd in 2005 ISBN 90 901278 6', price 15 Euro. It is in Dutch only.
groeten en suc6
Harry ten Veen

pɹɐɥɔıɹ said...

Hi Hugh

I've just found your site whilst researching our summer holiday which will be in Belgium this year (a week each near Turnhout and Eupen). Whilst myself I'm fascinated by the arbitrary nature of lines on the map or border markers determining who lives where, truth be told for my children the differences on both sides are actually pretty subtle, e.g. Roetgen and Baarle despite the amazing border lines you would never know what country you were in if it weren't for looking at a map or looking at the marks on the road.

The town I have been to with the starkest differences from one side of the street to the other is le Perthus on the French / Spanish border.

Can you recommend somewhere in the low countres where you can really see the difference between one country and the other, with legs astride the two countries?


Hugh said...

Hi Richard

Actually I really can't suggest anywhere that it is THAT obvious in that region. Things have really got bery homogeneous over the past few years.

nastasiatheyummyone said...

Thank you for your EXCELLENT work and friendly service!
I hope somebody would be so king to answer my many questions properly (if you can answer all, just answer the ones you are able to please)…
I am from Belarus, and will travel to Europe for the first time next week. I want to clarify some issues.
1. If one flies by normal commercial aeroplane from Minsk, what would be the normal and best way be to go to Europe?
2. Which Airport is normally used if I would want to go to Sweden?
3. If I land in any Swedish airport, do they capture biomatric data (like fingerprints or taking a picture of new arrivals at the immigration desk)? If yes, how? I remember long ago when I wenht to the USA they scanned my fingerpint at the arrivals desk.
4. If I land in Frankfurt (Germany), do they capture biomatric data (like fingerprints or taking a picture of new arrivals at the immigration desk)? If yes, how?
5. If I land in Frankfurt (Germany) by way of a transit stop to Stockholm, can I leave the airport and go see some sites in Frankfurt?
6. Can one take a train/s to go to either Spain or Portugal or Greece, TRAVELLING from either of Sweden and/or Germany?
7. Does one need to show one’s Passport when one buys the train ticket to go to either Spain or Portugal or Greece, TRAVELLING from either Sweden and/or Germany?
8. Is one asked along the way and during the duration of the trip to go to either Spain or Portugal or Greece, TRAVELLING from either of Sweden and/or Germany TO SHOW your Passport or Visa to any officials?
9. What documents must be produced when one buys commercial aeroplane tickets inside the EU, especially TRAVELLING from either of Sweden and/or Germany.
Highest regards