52 - The Enclaves and Counter-enclaves of Baarle (B/NL)

One of the unlikeliest complexes of enclaves and exclaves in the world is to be found on the Belgian-Dutch border, and is centred on Baarle. This town, while surrounded entirely by Dutch territory, consists of two separate administrative units, one of which is the Dutch commune of Baarle-Nassau, the other being the Belgian commune of Baarle-Hertog.For an exhaustive history, please visit this page of the Buffalo Ontology Site.


That same story, more succinctly: here… 

The Belgian-Dutch border was established in the Maastricht Treaty of 1843, which mostly confirmed boundaries which were a few centuries old (as the separation of Belgium and the Netherlands has its origin in the religious wars of the 16th century). In the area around Baarle, it proved impossible to reach a definitive agreement. Instead, both governments opted to allocate nationality separately to each of the 5.732 parcels of land in the 50 km between border posts 214 and 215.

 These parcels ‘coagulated’ into a veritable archipelago of 20-odd Belgian exclaves in and around Baarle. In turn, some of these Belgian exclaves completely surround pieces of Dutch territory. Deliciously complicating this picture is a small enclave of Baarle-Nassau situated entirely within Belgium proper – and there’s even a Belgian parcel within a Dutch parcel within a Belgian enclave, which in turn is surrounded entirely by Dutch territory

Numerous attempts have been made throughout the centuries to (literally) rectify the situation, but they have obviously all failed – leaving the double entity of Baarle-Nassau/Baarle-Hertog with some absurd folklore.

  • As each house is deemed to pay taxes in the country where its front door is located, it is an old tradition in Baarle to move the front door some meters if that is profitable for the taxes, especially for shops.
  • The valley of the river Merkske is divided between both villages/kingdoms. This made it impossible for the re-allotment and land-improvement people to do there a lot of harm, as happened elsewhere. So this is now one of the ecologically richest areas in the whole region
  • The village Baarle attracts a lot of tourists. To make the enclaves visible for the visitor, the little plates with the house numbers are made to look different: ovals with the Belgian colours and rectangles with Dutch colours.
  • militarymap3.JPG

    This map taken from this page of previously mentioned website. Belgian territory marked red. Dutch territory is white.

    'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

    Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

    Sponsored by Northwell Health
    • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
    • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
    • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
    Keep reading Show less

    Meet the Bajau sea nomads — they can reportedly hold their breath for 13 minutes

    The Bajau people's nomadic lifestyle has given them remarkable adaptions, enabling them to stay underwater for unbelievable periods of time. Their lifestyle, however, is quickly disappearing.

    Wikimedia Commons
    Culture & Religion
    • The Bajau people travel in small flotillas throughout the Phillipines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, hunting fish underwater for food.
    • Over the years, practicing this lifestyle has given the Bajau unique adaptations to swimming underwater. Many find it straightforward to dive up to 13 minutes 200 feet below the surface of the ocean.
    • Unfortunately, many disparate factors are erasing the traditional Bajau way of life.
    Keep reading Show less

    Golden blood: The rarest blood in the world

    We explore the history of blood types and how they are classified to find out what makes the Rh-null type important to science and dangerous for those who live with it.

    Abid Katib/Getty Images
    Surprising Science
    • Fewer than 50 people worldwide have 'golden blood' — or Rh-null.
    • Blood is considered Rh-null if it lacks all of the 61 possible antigens in the Rh system.
    • It's also very dangerous to live with this blood type, as so few people have it.
    Keep reading Show less

    Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

    An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

    Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
    Surprising Science
    • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
    • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
    • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
    Keep reading Show less