I love getting comments from readers, and I received an email about a quote from my recent Jungholz Quadripoint Boundary Cross posting. As a reminder, a quadripoint occurs when four borders meet at a single point, and example being the "Four Corners" of the United States where Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado join together. I wrote:
In fact, there are no places where four nations form a quadripoint. Even the Jungholz example involving four borders and two nations is rare, one of only three examples.
My reader wanted to know whether I could provide the other two examples of quadripoints formed by international boundaries. One involves Baarle-Hertog of Belgium as it relates to Baarle-Nassau of the Netherlands. I’ll save the other example for a future post.
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This border area is seriously messed-up. It includes a multitude of exclaves, mainly Belgian exclaves totally surrounded by the Netherlands but also a few in the opposite direction. There are even seven Dutch exclaves located totally within the Belgian exclaves! Take a look at the map; zoom in and out, switch between modes, and you’ll see that some of the parcels enclose a single field or a couple of blocks or houses within the town. You’ll also notice that indeed there are some quadripoints sprinkled within those convoluted boundaries.
There’s an interesting website that documents much of the Baarle-Nassau/Baarle-Hertog phenomenon. It has some excellent maps, a photo and some history behind how this situation arose a thousand years ago. Somehow and very improbably it survives to the present, making it through several missed opportunities that could have fixed the situation. It’s an unusual artifact of feudal times that exists undisturbed in modern Europe.