Baarle-Nassau, in the Netherlands, and Baarle-Hertog, in Belgium are among the most unique places in the world that you should visit someday. The two towns share the same location but they also share intricately defined borders.
Let’s know some facts about this unique and strange place.
The History of This Puzzle:
The medieval feudalism is the reason behind this puzzle. It gave a certain area of land to a local duke or count. The land was named pockets. In this area, some of the pockets belonged to Duke Hertog of Brabant and other pockets belonged to the House of Nassau; that is why the area is named Baarle-Nassau and Baarle-Hertog.
In 1831, Belgium became an independent country. The borders between Belgium and the Netherlands had to be determined. The border commission responsible for determining the borders had a very difficult task because in the area around Baarle, it was impossible to reach a definitive agreement.
The Borders as a Tourist Destination:
The borders between Belgium and Netherlands are marked with white crosses on the pavement and metal studs in the road. The crosses find its way across the town without any consideration to houses, gardens and streets. When you follow them, you can see the crosses entering a building through a gift shop then it comes out from a supermarket.
The crosses enter homes and cut them into half. The nationality of the home is determined by the location of its front door. The shops that belong to Belgium were open on Sundays for many years while those belong to Netherlands were closed.
The tax systems are different between Belgium and Netherlands so imagine going shopping in the same street between two different taxes systems.
Also, one of the funny things is that there was a time when laws of Netherlands forced the restaurants to close earlier. Some restaurants were cut in half so the customers had to change tables from Netherlands to Belgium.
Another funny fact is the drinking age. In Netherlands, the drinking age is 18 while in Belgium; you can drink beer and wine at 16. Teenagers use this fact and buy beer and wine from the shops in Belgium even if they are Dutch.
With the coming of the European Union, some of the differences between the Dutch and the Belgian sides disappeared.
• The Conclusion:
It is a strange situation. If you are planning to visit this place, notice the differences between the two countries and make a list of things you should try in Belgium and not allowed in Netherlands and vice versa.