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The curious story of the house with two numbers

2 min read

Border towns are present all over the world where houses or, sometimes entire areas, move from one country to another when the border moves.
But what happens if the border goes literally through your front door?

The town of Baarle, in the border between Belgium and the Netherlands, is home to perhaps the craziest border situation in the world, with dozens of enclaves and exclaves dotting the area, with their borders running criss-cross through everything….including houses!
This means that people could have their kitchen in one country and their dining room in the other, in a situation that gave such an administrative problem that it was decided that a house on the border belongs to the country in which it has its front door.
But also this is not a perfect solution, and this is the case of the house which is simultaneously at Belgian number 2, Loveren 2 in Baarle-Hertog, and the Dutch number 19, Loveren 19 in Baarle-Nassau, because its front door is exactly on the border!

Because of this, it was decided to give the house two house numbers, one in Belgium and one in the Netherlands, and its owners of the house were allowed to choose which municipality they belong to, and thus where they get their utilities from.
Apparently, most inhabitants choose Belgium, given that most things are cheaper there.
But this was not always the case, as there is a popular story about this house dating back World War II. Supposedly the Dutch military commandeered the house, not knowing that it was on the border. The Belgian government insisted that they move their desks and beds, as Dutch soldiers were allowed to sleep in Belgium, but not work there.

Either way the house was built in the 17th century as a tavern named De Swaen, and It is now a private residence, as well as one of the most photographed places in the town.

Images from web – Google Research

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