Local Heart, Global Soul

December 7, 2017

Two Grand Houses…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Early this year Himself and I took a weekend away for two and came to visit Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog in the south of the Netherlands.

After finding several former railways buildings and the “Het Bels Lijntje” (The Belgian Line), a former railway line turned cycle path, we continue a little further on, seeing an interesting building ahead.

Actually there are two, opposite each other, one has an information plaque that says:

Pastoor de Katerstraat’, “dit neo-renaissance woonhuis is gebouwd in 1915” (This neo-renaissance residential home was built in 1915).

The other building I had a strange idea that it had been a doctors residence, but now looking through my notes I can’t quite see how I came to that conclusion.

Never one to be missing a photo opportunity when it comes to architectural detail, I try and zoom in.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Further up the same street… (we didn’t go further, this was the outermost point we managed in this direction).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 6, 2017

Long Straights And Gentle Curves…

Following my posts of the past two days here is the “Het Bels Lijntje” (The Belgian Line) in Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog, a former railway line. These days it’s been converted into a long cycle route by the same name. For this reason it will be full of long straights and wide gentle curves. No hairpin corners here. Let’s hope that cyclists don’t get too many head winds down those straights!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 5, 2017

The Days When The Railways Built Houses For Staff…

The information board for this building is very similar to the previous one, because they had similar functions. Translated into English it reads: “Railway House”. This house was built in 1867 when the railway line from Tilburg to Turnhout was constructed. On many locations next to the line, houses were built for staff of the Grand Central Belge Railway Company.

Colloquially the railway line was known as “Het Bels Lijntje” (The Belgian Line) because of the company that ran the line. In 1988 the last rails were removed to be replaced with asphalt for the cycle track “Het Bels Lijntje” which was opened in 1990.”

One thing is for certain, long gone are the day when employers built houses for their staff. Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog probably wasn’t exactly the “sticks” but in those days a “commute” to work meant walking distance or a short bicycle ride. I wonder what those staff would have thought if they had known that in one hundred and fifty years it would be normal for people to sit in cars or trains, often for hours… just to get to work! I’m not too certain that they would call that “Progress”.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 4, 2017

Customs Office: The Strangest Reason To Be Careful Where To Site Your Railway Tracks!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The next building we come across is called the Customs Office. The sign reads:

Next to Café ‘t Hoekske (of yesterdays post) was the Dutch Customs Office. Here, goods could be cleared through customs officially. Smugglers who were caught were searched here“.

Another plaque outside which tells us: “Customs Office, This house was built in 1867 when the railway line from Tilburg to Turnhout was constructed, now known as cycle track “Het Bels Lijntje” (The Belgian Line).

At the time the house served as a Customs Office and railway building for staff unloading trains and pointsmen who changed the points when trains approached the border.

Now it is residential accommodation. It was been a municipal listed building since 1996.”

One thought immediately crossed my mind: if they had to change the points every time they approached the border, then in Baarle-Nassua / Baarle-Hertog, with it’s complex series of enclaves and counter-enclaves you would have to be very careful indeed when planning where to put your railway tracks!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 3, 2017

Café ‘t Hoekske: When Your Notary Goes To The Pub To Work…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This next plaque made me laugh, but in fact it has an entirely practical dimension.

The information plaque on the wall tells us: “Café ‘t Hoekske (The Corner Pub):The border ran straight through Café ‘t Hoekske.

The border ran straight through the pool table. When real estate was sold which was situated in both countries, the notarial deeds were signed in this pub.

A table was placed on the border so that each civil-law notary would sign the deed in his own country.”

I think that both Himself and I had pretty much the same thought at the same time about this one, …

… that of course the pub owner would be very accommodating, after all, there are more homes and businesses in Baarle that the border runs directly though.

The difference with this one is that the owner is licenced to sell celebratory drinks to both parties after the deals have been sealed. It appears that a shop from the ‘zeemans’ chain has now replaced the pub… I now wonder if there is a table somewhere inside where these cross-border transactions still take place?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 2, 2017

Chickens In The Park And Maybe A Rude Statue…

Close to the large brick building in yesterday’s post we come across a small park. Two things catch my attention right away; first the fact that there are chickens pecking away on the grass, and secondly, the statue there. Either I have an unusually dirty mind or is it that there is a phallic resemblance to this? This is the second statue/ piece of ornament in Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog to draw this resemblance, What is it with this town and phallic looking items? Or has modern art taken a strange new twist?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 1, 2017

Brick Is Beautiful.

Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog, where I discover a building where brick is beautiful.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 30, 2017

One Tourist Information Office … Or Two?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Himself and I took a weekend away for two earlier this year and paid a visit to the half-Dutch, half Belgian town of Baarle.

This series of Belgium enclaves and Dutch counter-enclaves located in the south of the Netherlands is a centuries old hangover from the times when separate towns were owned by the nobility.

Borders have been semi-fluid until relatively recent times and whilst most of these enclaves got ironed out in the process, a complex legal arrangement meant that this never happened in Baarle.

Himself and I both love geography so to have this geographical anomaly on our doorstep was a visit too good to pass up. We therefore packed my wheelchair and began a whistle-stop tour of the center of the town.

Visitors to the Netherlands need to learn to recognise one very useful sign, the “VVV”, (a well known abbreviation for “Vereniging voor Vreemdelingenverkeer” which quite literally means “Association for the Traffic of Foreigners”, but is far better translated into English as the “Tourist Information Centre”).

In true Baarle form this building also straddles one of the enclave borders, with the demarcation line marked out on the floor. The staff were friendly and soon we had a local map showing us a few of the sights and different walking routes. With the wheelchair however we didn’t have time for everything so chose a shortened version.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 29, 2017

Knock, Knock, It’s The Tax Man…

House number plates in Baarle-Nassau and Baarle-Hertog have different forms so that it can be seen if the address is Belgium or Dutch. Some homes and businesses are divided in half by the border but municipality dealings and taxes are paid to the country where the front door is located. This has meant that on occasion owners have shifted the location of their front door in order claim the most advantageous taxes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 28, 2017

Who Didn’t Play This As A Child?

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

Looking around the center of Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog, I discover another small quirky statue. Another one for my collection: I love the simplicity.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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