Edge a strange anomaly in Northern Europe: tourists drawn to the city, shared by two States

Edge a strange anomaly in Northern Europe: tourists drawn to the city, shared by two States

In the town of Baarle even the rooms of one house can be in different countries.

In Northern Europe, on the border of Belgium and the Netherlands, there is a geopolitical anomaly. The distinction between countries is so complicated that literally passes through the building residents of both countries. That is, it turns out that one room is located on the Belgian lands, and the other in the Netherlands. After a few steps, the man is in a neighboring country.

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Urban residents find themselves in this pun sometimes transferred the front door a few meters to enjoy the privileges of a neighboring country, writes the BBC.

The fact that part of the Belgian region Baarle-Hertog has no land communication with the country. It is surrounded by lands of the Netherlands and is divided into about 20 pieces-enclaves. In turn, these enclaves contain a small areas owned by the Dutch municipality of Baarle-Nassau. So, one road may cross the border several times, some houses are located in two countries simultaneously, and the laws apply to them because of that, go out the door. Here, even crossing the street can be in a neighboring state. And it attracts to the municipalities a lot of tourists.

www.flickr.com/Barry Mangham

«Does this border confusion for the benefit of the municipalities? Of course, it attracts tourists,» — says the head of the local tourist organization. «The number of shops, hotels and cafes that we have, is more appropriate for a city of 40 thousand inhabitants, rather than 9 thousand. And when the Belgian stores are closed on Sunday, the enterprising Dutch work.»

The map of the Belgian region similar to the amoeba kernel which is a small territory of the Netherlands.

The confusion started in 1831, when Belgium became independent. The disputed land belonged to various aristocratic families and was not divided between countries until 1995. All this time neither the city government nor state officials could not understand what belongs to whom. But after numerous talks last parcel was transferred to Belgium.

Now the buildings of the Belgian Baarle-Hertog virtually indistinguishable from buildings made of red brick of the Netherlands. The first thing that stands out — marking white crosses on the sidewalks of the borders between the countries and rooms of the buildings are marked with a corresponding flag. More differences can be found in the details. So, the Dutch blocks are built up with monotonous and restrained, and the Belgian more refined architecture. This is primarily reflected in landscaping, although the Dutch have already started to copy something from their neighbors.

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However, to achieve such harmony between the people and officials of the municipalities have undergone a lot of controversy. And they arose in the most unexpected situations: through water, infrastructure and education. It was especially difficult to determine how will residents pay for street lighting, sewer and water.

Another controversial issue relates to alcohol. So, in the Netherlands, teenagers can drink alcohol from 18 years, and in Belgium 16. Therefore, if someone does not sell alcohol then they can just curse the bartender and go to the right places.

«But if there are 100 problems, 98 of them are easily solved – after a lot of debate, of course,» says the Chairman of the Belgian municipality.

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www.flickr.com/Henk Lamers

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