are we in belgium or the netherlands? it depends on what side of the street you are on

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Nestled in the northern region of Belgium on the Netherlands border is the enclave of Baarle-Hertog, oh and Baarle-Nassau. With its origins that go back to the first century B.C.E. this region first hit the history books in the 10th century.

We took a train from Brussels Midi (aka Brussels Zuid) which is one of three main train stations in Brussels, to Turnot station, and then took a twenty minute bus ride to Baarle-Hertog/Baarle-Nassau.

The “town” is a patchwork of enclaves within enclaves: twenty one Belgian enclaves in Dutch territory and nine Dutch enclaves within Belgian territory. The postman must hate this. Belgian house numbers have a Belgian flag on them and Dutch ones have the Dutch flag on them. The combined 8,000 residents are used to this, and walk from their house to their neighbor’s house, crossing the international border, without even thinking about it.

In fact there are many streets and areas where the border divides houses, streets, shops and parks, and one can see the border marked on the street, with a B and NL indicating where you are. Apparently, the front door of your house indicates which country you will pay taxes in, so if you don’t like the Belgian taxes you can simply brick up your door and build a new one on the side of your house.

And yes it is possible to sip a latte with one foot in each country.

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. Which taxes does the house in your picture pay? The dividing line is bang in the middle of the front door!

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