Baarle is a town in the south of the Netherlands. It's located in the southern province of Dutch Brabant not far from the Belgo-Dutch border. At first glance it looks just like any other town in Brabant: There's a church, a town hall, a police station. But then, as you walk along, there's another church and another town hall and another police station. Everything comes in twos; two bus lines, two kinds of traffic and streets signs, etc. When you look down, you'll see white crosses running across the pavement. When you look at the house numbers of residences and shop fronts, you'll see they're flanked by little flags; either red/white/blue or red/yellow/black ones. It's then that you realise that something weird is going on here.
As I said Baarle is a good 6km from the border, but the town is divided between Belgium and the Netherlands. Baarle-Nassau is the Dutch part and Baarle-Hertog is the Belgian part. The border, which are those white crosses marked on the pavements, is not a particularly clean cut line, mind you. The map of the two Baarles looks more like a patchwork blanket of Belgian enclaves and Dutch exclaves.
|Dutch town hall|