After Baarle-Hertog / Baarle-Nassau, Oriol and I drove to the Vaalserberg in Limburg, where Kingdom of the Netherlands meet the Kingdom of Belgium and the Federal Republic of Germany. It’s commonly known as Drielandenpunt, Point Trifrontières or Point des Trois Frontières and Dreiländereck. It used to be a quadripoint with Neutral Moresnet.
The Vaalserberg is a hill with a height of 322.4 metres (1,058 ft) above official Amsterdam sea level (NAP) and is the highest point in mainland Netherlands. The Vaalserberg is located in the province of Limburg, at the south-easternmost edge of the country, near the town of Vaals (after which it is named).
After the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles and incorporation of Saba into the Netherlands in 2010, the Vaalserberg was replaced by Mount Scenery as the highest point in the Netherlands.
Next to the highest point of continental Netherlands is the infamous Tri-Country Point. It is a tourist attraction with a maze and some catering options. There’s the Wilhelminatoren (Wilhelmina Tower) on the Dutch side and the Tour Roi Baudouin (King Baldwin’s Tower) on the Belgian side. The Germans make less fuzz about the thing.
The area used to be neutral. Neutral Moresnet was a small Belgian–Prussian condominium that existed from 1816 to 1920 and was administered jointly by the United Kingdom of the Netherlands (Belgium after its independence in 1830) and the Kingdom of Prussia. It was a mile or 1.6 km wide and 3 miles or 4.8 km long, with an area of 900 acres (360 ha).
After 1830, the territory’s northernmost border point at Vaalserberg connected it to a quadripoint shared additionally with the Dutch Province of Limburg, the Prussian Rhine Province, and the Belgian Province of Liège.
During the First World War, Neutral Moresnet was annexed by Germany, although the allies did not recognise the annexation.
The Armistice between France and Germany in November 1918 forced Germany to withdraw from Belgium and Neutral Moresnet. A year later, the Treaty of Versailles awarded Neutral Moresnet to Belgium, effective 10 January 1920, when the territory was annexed by Belgium to become the municipality of Kelmis.
The area is especially of interest to Esperantists because of initiatives during the early 20th century to found an Esperanto‑speaking state, named Amikejo (lit. Place of Friendship), on the territory of Neutral Moresnet.
During World War II, Kelmis and the area surrounding was again annexed by Germany and had its name reverted to Moresnet, but the territory was returned to Belgium during 1944.
Should you go and see it. Yes if you’re in the area or you’re into geo-historical quirks. Otherwise no.
With the help of Wikipedia.
42 Comments Add yours