Last week I showed some pictures of Rolduc. Today's pictures are taken only about 1500 meters from there. In the old days Kerkrade and Herzogenrath were one community, 's Hertogenrade. Most important buildings were Rolduc Abbey and the castle only a few hundred meters apart. During the Vienna Congress 1814-1815 new boundaries were formed in Europe. One of the results was that the town of 's Hertogenrade were split into a Dutch and a German part. Kerkrade in the Netherlands and Herzogenrath in Germany. Just like that and never mind the feelings of the people concerned. The new frontiere line was drawn right in the middle of a street, the Nieuwstraat (New Street) and was marked with barbed wire, poles, chicken wire etc.
What I remember as a kid after WW2 was that an aunt of mine lived in the German part of the street and for every visit we had to pass through customs and show passports.
A few decades ago with a united Europe to come the wire and poles were pulled down and low concrete frontiere was built. People who lived in the street got a special passport to cross the street both ways. In 1991 the concrete border was removed as well and no boundaries are left.
This is the Nieuwstraat now the righthand side is Dutch, the left is German
My aunt and her family lived in the house at the left. At the opposite side of the road schoolfriends of mine lived. When visiting my aunt I could not cross the border to play with them. I was not even allowed to go near the wire fence to talk to them.
Now it is just one open street as you can see.
The streetnames in both languages. The sign is placed in Germany and where I stood to take the picture is Netherlands.
There where the Dutch part of the street ends a new building was constructed about 10 - 15 years ago which accommodates German and Dutch offices. I think it is an ugly monstrous building and divides a street that onze was several kilometers long and straight. Don't know who's idea it was but I have not met anyone who is happy with it.
The house at the left is the last house of the Nieuwstraat on Dutch territory.
This picture is taken at the back of the hideous building. From there the street is German at both sides.