Three Countries Corner

All over Aachen there are bicycle route signs pointing to Dreiländereck, meaning Three Countries Corner, where the borders of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands all come together.

The distances are of course in kilometers, so on this sign it’s only 5.2 kilometers away (just over three miles). The same sign points to the town of Vaals, in the Netherlands, which is only 4.0 kilometers away.

It’s not far, but slightly uphill towards the end

The signs mean no motorcycles or cars allowed, but free for bicycles.

Cyclists up at Three Countries Corner

I had no idea what to expect up there, and I thought I might be the only person or at least the only cyclist up at Three Countries Corner, but in fact there were thousands of people on bicycles, all wearing lycra, because it happened to be the day of the Tour Version of the Amstel Gold Race, a huge Dutch bicycle event in which about twelve thousand people took part.

The Tour Version is the one for amateur cyclists, not to be confused with the Race Version, which is for professional racing cyclists and takes place a day later. (Sergey Ivanov won the Race Version in 2009, in case you’ve forgotten.)

Cyclists taking a break by the tower

The one I saw was the eighth edition of the Tour Version, and they offered a choice of six different distances to be covered: 65 km, 100 km, 125 km, 150 km, 200 km or 250 km. The cyclists I saw all came up the hill from the Belgian side, rode past the Three Countries Corner and tower (or stopped for a rest) and then continued back down on the Netherlands side.

Starting down the other side

The Tour Version is not a race, but rather “a tourist performance ride”. Each cyclist has a number, so that afterwards all twelve thousand participants could be listed on the website with their times, photos and sometimes even videos.

Amstel, by the way, is a brand of beer. For this reason, you have to click on a button saying you are at least eighteen years old in order to enter the website about the Amstel Gold Race.

Tower at Three Countries Corner

At the Three Countries Corner there is a tower which you can climb for a small fee (or take the elevator, which is what I did), to have a look out over the three countries.

Looking towards Germany

Looking towards Belgium, with the railroad tracks going to Liège and Brussels.

Looking towards the Netherlands

Looking down at the labyrinth

There are also two or three restaurants on the site, as well as snack bars offering huge portions of Frietjes (which no one here would think of calling ‘French’ fries) and a labyrinth made of hedges. All these facilities are on the Netherlands side, but the people who work there speak all three languages.

Hoogste Punt van Nederland

The place where the borders of Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium come together is also the highest point in the Netherlands (Hoogste Punt van Nederland) at the dizzying altitude of three hundred and twenty-two and a half meters above sea level.

GPS 50°45’16.27″ North;  6° 1’15.01″ East

My photos in this post are from 2009. I revised the text in 2019.

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5 thoughts on “Three Countries Corner”

  1. I visited here a few years ago and spent a very, very long time in that maze. I decided to let the kids navigate and not step in. They cracked it…eventually! I find borders really interesting and a place where three come together even more so. I’d love to revisit the area and Aachen; perhaps for the Christmas markets as things seem to be getting ‘back to normal’ this year.

  2. Unlike Fergy I didn’t manage to get here during the Euromeet, so didn’t see it in any state at all 😉 Good to see photos of what I missed!

  3. I visited this place during the Euromeet and I had been with John Gayton all theprevious evening and that morning so you can imagine what state I was in!

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