Baarle, Netherlands

Baarle is a village that extends over two municipalities: the Belgian Baarle-Hertog and the Dutch Baarle-Nassau. The Belgian part consists of 22 exclaves (the boundaries were definitively established in 1995 and a former neutral grassland became the 22nd exclave). The exclaves in turn enclose seven pieces of Dutch territory; Belgium itself enclaves an eighth piece close to Ginhoven. There are three quadripoints.

Because the national borders have divided some parcels, some buildings are right on it. This is the case, for example, for a Zeeman branch. The "front door rule" applies to these buildings: their address is in the country in which their front door is located. An exception to this is a house in the street Loveren with a Belgian (# 2) and Dutch (# 19) front door. For convenience, all house numbers were given a flag (see photos).



The name Baarle (in old sources Barle or Barlo) is explained in different ways. The last part certainly comes from loo, which means forest on sandy ground, close to a settlement. The first part comes from

bar: a bare, flat or undeveloped land.
barza: Primordial German word for coniferous wood.
Baro or Bera, an old personal name.
The suffixes Hertog and Nassau refer to the duke of Brabant, respectively the Huis Nassau, which owned the barony of Breda.

The name of the hamlet of Tommel comes from the Latin word tumulus, which means burial mound. Several prehistoric burial mounds are known at Tommel. Urns have also been found that indicate that the area around Tommel was already inhabited in the Bronze Age.




The Sint-Remigius Church, from 1640, in late Campine Gothic.
Villa at Pastoor de Katerstraat 3, from 1900, in neo-renaissance style.
Smugglers' monument, on the Prins Hendrik I square, from 1992. It was made by Constant Grooten on the occasion of the 1000th anniversary of Baarle. In 1996 it was inaugurated by Sjaak Mulders and Mon van Casteren, both retired smugglers, but very active during the period when butter smuggling was still lucrative. They still drove armored cars and scattered crow's feet.
The Franciscan Monastery, in a mansion at Kerkstraat 7, founded in 1879 by the Franciscan Sisters of Sint-Jozefsdal in Herentals, renovated in 1930.



The Onze-Lieve-Vrouw van Bijstand church from 1879, enlarged in 1932 and 1958.
The former Baarle-Nassau station, from 1869.
Some service houses in Baarle-Nassau Grens, from 1905
The hard stone village pump, from 1809, on the Singel. Here are also four grazing posts.
A former tannery, at Chaamseweg 9A. It is a traditional tannery from the last quarter of the 19th century.
House at Singel 13, from 1639, a Kempen storey house.
Farmhouse at Boschoven 8, from 1636, with details on the facades that are swung in and out.
The Sint-Salvator Chapel in the hamlet of Nijhoven



Baarle's Museum at Kerkplein 3 in Baarle-Hertog, shows carved candles.
Museum Vergane Glorie, at Turnhoutseweg 10A in Baarle-Hertog, shows old crafts


Getting here

By train
Closest train station in Belgium is Turnhout. From there we continue by bus.

Until 7 October 1934 there were two railway stations in Baarle (Baarle-Nassau and Baarle-Grens; both Dutch) on the railway line from Tilburg in the Netherlands to Turnhout in Belgium. Until 1973 the route was still used by freight trains. From 1974 to 1982 a tourist steam train ran from Tilburg to the border.

This railway line has now been replaced by the 31km long cycle path "Het Bels Lijntje" which connects the two cities. A few years ago, the route was discussed again as a possible route for the TGV Amsterdam - Brussels.

In the street
The village of Baarle is easily accessible by car via the two Dutch provincial roads N260 and N639 and the Belgian provincial road N119. The A58 motorway in the Netherlands and the E34 in Belgium are also close to the village.

By bus
Belgian bus no. 460 (De Lijn) runs from Turnhout train station to Baarle.

The Dutch Veolia runs line 132 from Tilburg to Breda via Baarle.



Due to legislation, the erotic video store is located in Baarle-Nassau and the fireworks shops are located in Baarle-Hertog and are open all year round. In Baarle every week is a shopping Sunday. The reason is that in Belgium shops are allowed to be open every Sunday and Baarle-Nassau can claim its status as a tourist attraction.



The village of Baarle has 20 restaurants (including 1 Italian and 2 Asian, 1 pancake house, 4 ice cream parlors and bistros, and 1 steakhouse). The regional cuisine is hearty but thoroughly refined and the proximity to Belgium is evident in the rich selection of beers.

Two worlds also meet in culinary terms, for example there is the Baarler pancake (Baarloe Pannekoek): one half is topped with cheese and ham, the other with cherries and powdered sugar.

De Pannekoekenbakker, Singel 16, 5111 CD Baarle-Nassau. Tel.: +31 13 50 79 27 2, email: There are all kinds of pancakes, in spring also the Baarler pancake, no poffertjes, cozy atmosphere. Open: April to October: Mon 12pm – 8pm, Tue – Sun 10am – 8pm; November to March: Mon 12 noon – 8 p.m., Tue, Sat, Sun 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Wed, Thu, Fri 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Price: 2.40 - 13.70 euros.



The demands on the nightlife should not be set too high. Don't forget: Baarle is a village. However, with at least 7 pubs and generally the people of Brabant, whether from Belgium or the Netherlands, know how to party.



VVV (Tourist Information Office) Nieuwstraat 16, 5111 CW Baarle-Nassau, The Netherlands Telephone: 0031 13 5079921, Fax: 0031 13 5073108) Email:

Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday: 11 am - 3 pm, Saturday: 10 am - 3 pm, closed on Sundays and Mondays

Brasserie-Hotel Den Bonten Os, Pastoor de Katerstraat 23-25, 2387 Baarle-Hertog. Tel.: +32 1469 90 16, e-mail:
Bed & Breakfast "Effe Rust", Veldbraak 13, 5111 HH Baarle-Nassau. Phone: +31-13 507 7475.

Sporthotel "Bruurs", Sportlaan 22, 5111 BX Baarle-Nassau.
Hotel "Den Engel", Singel 3, 5111 CD Baarle-Nassau.
Hotel "Het Kasteeltje", Pastoor de Katerstraat 3, 2387 Baarle-Hertog. Tel: +32 14 699297.
Logement "De Hertog van Baerle", Zondereigen 1b, 2387 Baarle-Hertog (Zondereigen). Phone: +32 14 82 88 83.

There are 5 campsites and 3 mini-campsites in and around Baarle.


Practical hints

Of course there are two post offices. The Dutch Koninklijke TNT Post has its building at 5111 CA Baarle-Nassau at St.Annaplein 15, the Belgian De Post - La Poste is at 2387 Baarle-Hertog at Uitbreidingsstraat 7. And twice a day (except Sunday) the postman comes, once that of the Dutch Post, once that of the Belgian Post.

For the most part, the telephone network exists twice: both from KPN Telecom and from Belgacom. However, there is a special link that allows calls between Baarle-Hertog and Baarle-Nassau at local rates. All mobile phone providers in the Netherlands and Belgium can also be reached.



There are numerous signposted and described cycle routes in and around Baarle. In addition, the village is in the middle of the knooppunten networks of West Brabant and Antwerp. This makes it possible for everyone to make their own cycle routes from one connection point to the other. The map is available from the VVV or can be downloaded from this link:

A brochure is also available from the VVV with walks in and around Baarle, including an 'enclave path' that leads along various border experiences in the village. An overview is available at this link:



Tourism Baarle-Hertog-Nassau, Singel 1, 5111 CC Baarle-Nassau, ☎ +31 13 507 99 21, e-mail: Mon 12:00-16:00, Tue-Sat 10:00-16:00, Sun 11:00-15:00.



The origin of these complicated relationships lies in the 12th century.[3] While Baarle has been inhabited since primeval times, there are first documentary references (albeit with dubious authenticity) from the year 992 and (certified) 1141. A power struggle between several feuding nobles in the area resulted in two agreements in 1198. An agreement between Godfried II van Schoten, Lord of Breda, and Duke Henry I of Brabant provided that Godfried accepted Henry as his liege lord. The second agreement was that Heinrich Godfried not only returned the land he had originally acquired as a fief, but also transferred other lands to him. However, Henry insisted on keeping individual vassals under his control. Over time, this right turned into a right to control certain lands. In this way, the village of Baarle and its surroundings were split into two parts: Baarle-onder-den-Hertog (Hertog = "duke"), originally populated and claimed by Heinrich, and Baarle-onder-den-Hertog (Hertog = "Duke"), which was only very sparsely populated and was assigned to Godfried. Breda (later Baarle-Nassau).

In the 16th century, both areas were assigned to the Spanish Netherlands, so the village of Baarle was not actually divided. However, with the rise of Protestantism in the region, Spanish rule began to crumble. In the Netherlands, the associated revolts are known as the Eighty Years' War (beginning in 1568). Baarle-Nassau belonged to William the Silent of Nassau and thus became part of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. Baarle-Hertog belonged to the Spanish Netherlands and was ceded to Archduke Albrecht VII of Austria by Philip II of Spain in 1598. The enmity between the United Provinces and the Austrians flared up again and again until Baarle was formally split into two parts in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648: Baarle-Nassau went to the Dutch Republic, Baarle-Hertog to the Spanish Netherlands. This started the formal division of the village into different countries.

Several attempts to resolve the confused demarcation were rejected, not decided upon or simply not pursued in the wake of other dramatic events such as the French Revolution. With the founding of the state of Belgium and recognition by the Netherlands in 1839, the division of the village was cemented. Since then, Baarle has belonged partly to the Netherlands and partly to Belgium.

Between 1836 and 1841 both municipalities were completely surveyed for tax reasons. The border treaty between Belgium and the Netherlands from 1842 left the exact course of the border in Baarle open and referred to the status quo. In an appendix to the contract, reference was made to the tax survey for the years 1836 to 1841. The course of the border has remained virtually unchanged since that time.

The border conflict flared up again after World War II. In February 1953 the Belgian Gerard van den Eijnde (1908-1989) acquired some buildings which were registered in both Baarle-Nassaus and Baarle-Hertog's cadastre and had been claimed by Belgium and the Netherlands since 1922 respectively. Van den Eijnde now tried to use the situation for his own purposes (he wanted to run a casino in Baarle, and the rents that could be obtained in Belgium were higher at the time) and applied for assignment to Belgium. The decision went as far as the International Court of Justice, which ruled on June 20, 1959 (by a vote of 10 to 4) that the buildings belonged to Belgium. As a result of this court decision, the two countries once again precisely defined the course of the border in a treaty ratified in 1974 (corresponding to the agreement of 1842). In 1995, the borders were remeasured with centimeter precision.


Examples for the course of the border

The state affiliation within the community is recognizable by the house number: the house numbers on Belgian territory have a small Belgian flag on the top left, the Dutch house numbers have red and blue stripes on the left and right side, which symbolize the local national colors.

The church square belongs to Baarle-Hertog, but the front of houses on its northern edge forms the border with the Netherlands. Where the border leaves the front of the house, it is marked with a metal strip, and the coats of arms of the regions are also applied to the other side of the street. West of the church square, the border runs in the middle of the street. The right side of the street belongs to Belgium, the left to the Netherlands. This can be recognized by the respective national flags. However, if you go through a small alley that leads away from the church square to the right, you are back in the Netherlands.

Since the border was drawn, former smaller enclaved fields have long since been cultivated, so the border also runs through the middle of houses. In such cases, the location of the front door determines nationality. The southern Dutch sub-enclave N5 consists of just a few houses - its northern border runs right through the beverage shop De Biergrens ("The Beer Frontier"), which has a Dutch and a Belgian telephone number and two different addresses.


Barle today

Baarle-Hertog is the smallest independent municipality in the Belgian province of Antwerp and consists of 22 Belgian exclaves - surrounded by the Dutch municipality of Baarle-Nassau - and the village of Zondereigen, which is not an exclave but lies south of the continuous border in mainland Belgium. The center of Baarle-Hertog is about 6 km north of the continuous border line between Belgium and the Netherlands. Baarle-Nassau belongs to the Dutch province of Noord-Brabant; the municipality includes seven Dutch sub-exclaves in the Belgian enclaves and one Dutch exclave in Belgium.

Due to the special situation, there are not only two nationalities in Baarle, but also two community centers, two mayors, two municipal councils, two churches, two post offices, two police stations, two fire brigades (until 2008), two electricity networks, two telephone networks, two football clubs, two tennis clubs and so on. Since 2008 there has been a joint fire brigade consisting of Dutch and Belgian firefighters housed in a joint fire station.

The inhabitants of Baarle always knew how to profit from this special political position and the special ambience of their place. Baarle has become a thriving community, particularly thanks to tourists and day-trippers, which thrives on the cultural characteristics of both countries.

Before Dutch shop opening hours were liberalised, shopping in Belgium was also preferred in the evenings and at weekends, when Dutch shops had long since closed. Since then, every week in the Dutch part of Baarle is koopzondag (Sunday open for shopping), which attracts many potential buyers. Cosmetics, perfumes and other drugstore items, for example, are significantly cheaper in Belgium due to country-specific tax laws.



The vast municipalities of Baarle-Nassau and Baarle-Hertog are mainly agricultural in character, although there is some industrial activity. The complicated situation used to mean that smuggling was also a significant source of income. The middle class also benefits from the exceptional situation. There is an extensive and busy store base. There are also numerous bungalow parks in the vicinity.

The population of Baarle is expected to show a downward trend during the first decades of the 21st century.


Nature and landscape

In addition to extensive agricultural lands, Baarle also has a number of nature reserves. The Merkske in the south is a beautiful stream valley, and the Hollandse Bossen in the west forms an estate. The Bels Lijntje, a former railway route, has become a tourist cycle path that can be followed from Tilburg to Turnhout.




The electricity network is duplicated.

In Baarle-Hertog and Zondereigen, the electricity is supplied by Fluvius from Belgium.
In Baarle-Nassau and Ulicoten, the electricity is supplied by Enexis from the Netherlands. In the village of Castelré, electricity was supplied by Fluvius from Belgium until autumn 2018, after which from the Netherlands. Fluvius will be responsible for maintenance for another ten years (until 2028).


Radio, television and internet

Until August 26, 2012, the Flemish Telenet broadcast the analogue signal of both Dutch and Flemish commercial television in Baarle. Since August 26, 2012, Telenet is no longer allowed to offer products to the Dutch part of Baarle, because the cable, which belongs to Fluvius, has been taken over by the Dutch company Reggefiber. The latter has cut off cable distribution from the Dutch network and offers fiber optics. This means that the Dutch part of Baarle can now purchase Dutch services (such as KPN, Tele2 and T-Mobile Netherlands), but can no longer use Flemish services (such as receiving Flemish commercial channels, in particular VTM). Little will change in the Belgian part of Baarle. Telenet will continue to offer services there, has removed the Dutch commercial channels (RTL 4, RTL 5, RTL 7, RTL 8, SBS6, Net5, Veronica and Omroep Brabant) from the analogue cable and only offers these channels via digital reception. These are only available via cable (and therefore via Telenet); other Belgian providers of radio, TV and internet do this via ADSL. They have no Dutch commercial channels in their package.



The telephone network is largely duplicated by KPN and Proximus, but with a special link: calls between Baarle-Hertog (014) and Baarle-Nassau (013) are possible at a local rate.



In Baarle-Hertog, Baarle-Nassau and Castelré, the natural gas is supplied by Enexis from the Netherlands. Belgian homes can still be connected to the gas network, unlike new-build homes in the Netherlands.
In Zondereigen and Ulicoten, the natural gas is supplied by Fluvius from Belgium.



In Baarle-Hertog, Baarle-Nassau, Ulicoten and Castelré, the water is supplied by Brabant Water (from the Netherlands).
In Zondereigen, the water is supplied by Pidpa (from Belgium).


Household waste

All streets in the municipality of Baarle-Nassau and in the municipality of Baarle-Hertog are visited once a week by a garbage truck from the Belgian IOK. The recycling center on Smederijstraat can be used by all residents of the municipalities of Baarle-Nassau and -Hertog.


Winter service

The municipalities of Baarle-Hertog and Nassau will proceed in phases when spreading. In the first phase, the gritting team tackles the most important municipal traffic axes. At the same time, the provincial main axes are spread by the province of North Brabant. In phase two, the main roads of the residential areas will be gritted. This is usually done following phase 1 in case of persistent frost or snowfall. In the event of black ice, after rainfall on a frozen surface and days of snowfall, the municipalities proceed to phase 3 of the spreading plan. Residential streets with little traffic, such as subdivisions, zone 30 streets (except for the school environment, which is in phase 1) and parking lots, are sprinkled.



The mail is delivered by PostNL in the Dutch part and bpost in the Belgian part.



In Baarle it is shopping Sunday every week, both in the Belgian and the Dutch part.


Emergency services

In the municipality of Baarle-Hertog, the police services of Baarle-Nassau and Baarle-Hertog have jointly moved into one office on Parallelweg in Baarle-Hertog and are thus housed in one building. The local police officer of Baarle is sometimes called the 'dirco' of Baarle.

The fire brigades of Baarle-Nassau and Baarle-Hertog merged on 1 January 2010 into one corps. The corps is formed by Dutch and Belgian volunteers and the barracks are located at the C.A. Bodestraat 2 in Baarle-Nassau.


Traffic and transport

The village of Baarle can be reached by car via the two Dutch provincial roads N260, N639 and Belgian regional roads N119 and N135. The A58 motorways in the Netherlands, the E19 and the E34 in Belgium are also close to the village. From 2017 to 2019, the province of North Brabant built a ring road around Baarle. This ring road was taken into use at the end of 2019.

Line of The Line:
Line 460 (Turnhout - Baarle)

Lines of Arriva:
Line 132 (Tilburg - Breda)
Line 637 (Baarle → Tilburg)

Until October 7, 1934, Baarle had two train stations, located on the railway line Tilburg - Turnhout. This railway line has now been replaced by a 31 km long cycle path called "Het Bels Lijntje".


Community life

Baarle has a thriving club life. Some associations occur in both a Belgian and a Dutch variant. An example of this are the football clubs Gloria-UC (Dutch) and KVV Dosko (Belgian). Other associations occur only once in Baarle. Some examples are:

Music Society Sint Remi
Baarle Youth Work Foundation
Local History Circle Amalia van Solms
The Baarlese Sculpture Club
Carnival association De Grenszuukers



Both municipalities had a common website until 2012, which can be reached via both and With the help of a European subsidy for cross-border projects, the first joint website was opened on 30 March 2002. The website was taken off the air in 2004 after a Dutch opinion poll showed that was one of the worst municipal websites. On July 8, 2005, the new, also joint, website was opened. However, since 2012, the two Baarles have different websites.

Radio and television
The village of Baarle has its own local broadcaster, Local Broadcasting Baarle, also known as the Silent Enjoyer. This is a Dutch broadcaster with a license for Baarle-Nassau in the Netherlands, to be received on FM 87.8 MHz. In addition, a number of regional broadcasters can be received in Baarle, Omroep Brabant (can be received in Baarle-Hertog if you have digital TV via Telenet) and RTV (can only be received in the Belgian part). Baarle-Hertog has its own Flemish local radio broadcaster BaHeNa, which can be received there via FM 106.7 MHz.

Daily and weekly newspapers
The regional newspapers in Baarle are BN DeStem, Brabants Dagblad and Gazet van Antwerpen. Then Baarle has another weekly magazine, Ons Weekblad.



The building that currently houses a Zeeman branch on the corner of Nieuwstraat and Stationstraat used to be the café 't Hoekske. The café was on the Nieuwstraat, the main road from Baarle to Chaam and was divided in two by the national border. The innkeeper had placed a billiard table on top of the border. When real estate in both countries was sold, the notarial deed was signed in this café because of its location. A table was placed on the border and so every notary in their own country could sign the deeds. Border confrontations between a Dutch and a Belgian accused, each detained in his own country and therefore not extraditable, also happened in Baarle: the Belgian investigating judge came with the Belgian Gendarmerie and the Belgian accused along the neutral route, the Dutch judge, the Dutch Rijksmarechaussee and Dutch accused came across the border, and everyone could sit on one side of the table in the café in their own country. Next to the café was the Dutch customs office where goods could be officially cleared. Smugglers were also searched in this customs office.
In the center of Baarle there is a border marker in the Belgian part. This boundary marker is a symbolic boundary marker and is not exactly on the boundary. The pole is on the Kerkplein in front of the Sint-Remigiuskerk in Baarle-Hertog. The boundary marker is a copy of the original boundary markers. The border marker was unveiled on April 4, 1976 by the two mayors of Baarle.
In addition to Baarle, the hamlet of Tommel south of Baarle is also partly Dutch and partly Belgian.
National holidays are a challenge in the village. The Dutch celebrate King's Day on April 27 and the Belgians Labor Day on May 1. Dutch and Belgian companies are therefore closed on other days.


Corona pandemic

Interesting situations arose during the corona pandemic. In Baarle-Nassau people had to comply with the Dutch measures and in Baarle-Hertog with the Belgian ones. The Zeeman branch has its front door in the Netherlands and the back part of the store in Belgium. When the non-essential stores were closed in Belgium and not yet in the Netherlands, the Belgian half of Zeeman was closed and customers could not enter part of the store. Another store had the front door in Belgium but the back door in the Netherlands and more or less turned its store around so that the back door could continue as an entrance.

When the curfew later also entered into force in the Netherlands and not in Belgium, the Belgians were allowed to cross Dutch territory between 21:00 and 04:30, as long as the starting point and the final destination were in Belgium. It also had to be an essential trip. The Dutch had to stay indoors.

Although the Dutch/Belgian border was closed for a while, this did not apply in Baarle. Because in some places there is only a few meters of space between the national borders, it was impossible to close them all.