This cycling tour takes you border hopping in and around the remarkable village of Baarle. This village consists of the Belgian Baarle-Hertog and the Dutch Baarle-Nassau. Get to know the special history of this village and explore green areas in the area.
The distribution of Baarle
The starting point of this route is at the town hall of Baarle-Hertog. From here you set course through this curious village consisting of 30 enclaves. These are parts of a country that are completely enclosed by the territory of another country. For the history of Baarle you have to go back to the Middle Ages, when Duke Henry I of Brabant was lord of Baarle. He donated parts of Baarle to the lord of Breda, who later became part of the house of Nassau. This created parts of the village that belonged to'Baarle-under-de-Hertog\\\' and parts that belonged to'Baarle-under-de-Graaf-van-Nassau\\\'.
Enclaves as borders
After Belgian independence, it took until 1843 before the official border between Belgium and the Netherlands was established. It turned out to be difficult to determine the border near Baarle. Since 1995, the boundaries of the 30 enclaves have been the official state border. Thumbtacks in the ground, crosses on the road and the national tricolor on the house numbers indicate the boundaries in this area.
In addition to Baarle, you will find even more sights on the route, such as a reconstruction of the Schakelhuis and the associated'Death wire\\\', an electrical barrier that was used by the Germans during WWI. In Baarle you will find an interactive model, and the Paal van Baal, an imitation of a border marker that recalls the signing of the border treaty in 1974. You will also follow part of the Bels Lijntje, a former railway between Tilburg and Turnhout where it is now cycling is wonderful between wild flowers, butterflies and bees.
Discover the children's version of this route here
This is a signposted route that you can recognize on the spot by the hexagonal signs with a blue arrow.
Would you like to know more about the background of this region before you explore the route yourself? Then take a look at our inspiration page about De Kempen
Copyright photos: Mie De Backer