The Baarle Enclaves

Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog is a complicated mixture of Dutch and Belgian enclaves and exclaves. In 1843 a Dutch-Belgian boundary-committee couldn't demarcate a clear borderline. So they decided to establish from each piece of land between bordermarker 214 (south of Tilburg) and 215 (south of Breda) its nationality. But differences and disputes remained until the enclaves and their borders were finally and officially settled in 1995. On this page a bit of history and zooming into the H22-enclave and the quadripoint H1-H2.

- Treaty of 1843 (delimitation Belgium-Netherlands): article 90 which establishes the nationality of each and every cadastral parcel of the municipalities of Baarle-Nassau and Baarle-Hertog
- Treaty of 1974 (which describes the borderline south of Baarle-Nassau and Baarle-Hertog between the bordermarkers 214 and 215)
- Treaty of 1995 (the final establishment of the borders of the enclaves including all coordinates of all measure points, the maps with all these measure points outlined can be seen in Brendan Whyte's study)
- En territoire belge et à quarante centimètres de la frontière: an historical and documentary study of the Belgian and Dutch enclaves of Baarle-Hertog and Baarle-Nassau / Brendan Whyte. - cop. 2004 (excellent study of the Baarle enclaves including the maps from the 1995-treaty, free to download)

of the enclaves are shown HERE, including links to online maps

(2021) Herman Janssen - chairman of the historical society Amalia van Solms - will be pleased to give (free) tours in Baarle showing and explaining the particulars of the Baarle-enclaves, also in English. Email:

grenzen in Baarle-NassauHistory in short

The municipality of Baarle-Hertog (748 ha) is Belgian and consists of the village Zondereigen in Belgium en 22 enclaves on Dutch territory. The municipality of Baarle-Nassau (7638 ha) is Dutch and consists of the village Baarle-Nassau with 7 exclaves in the center (enclaves within the Belgian enclaves), one enclave in Zondereigen and the villages Castelré and Ulicoten.

The name Baarle was first mentioned in 922. In the 12th century the area was under control of Godfried van Schoten, Lord of Breda. Dirk VII, Duke of Holland, disputed the rights of Count Hendrik I of Brabant to the land south of Breda.
In 1198 Godfried van Schoten gave this area to Count Hendrik I of Brabant, who returned it immediately as a loan. With this act Godfried recognized the rights of the Count and prevented a war with Duke Dirk VII of Holland. Besides this loan, Godfried received a vast amount of land as a reward and so Baarle under Breda was born. The Count himself kept the inhabited taxpaying pieces: Baarle van de Hertog (= Baarle of the Count) or Baarle-Hertog.
In 1404 Engelbert I van Nassau got hold of Breda and so Baarle under Breda became Baarle-Nassau. After the treaty of Münster in 1648 Breda and therefore also Baarle-Nassau became part of the northern Netherlands. Baarle-Hertog, being a part of the Barony of Turnhout, was joined with the southern Netherlands.

grenspaal in baarle-nassauIn 1843 the borderline between the Netherlands and Belgium was described in the Treaty of Maastricht. The border between bordermarkers 214 and 215 couldn't be established for a length of 50 kilometers. An agreement was made instead which stated the Dutch or Belgian nationality of 5732 pieces of ground.
On april 26th 1974 Belgium and the Netherlands signed an agreement in Turnhout to make the actual borderlines the official border between bordermarkers 214 and 215. Afterwards one field was discovered (south of the village of Ulicoten) being not assigned to either Belgium or the Netherlands. In 1995 this field became part of Belgium as the 22th enclave of Baarle-Hertog. The municipal borders were declared to be the official state boundaries.

In the seventies a bordermarker copy was placed in the center of Baarle-Nassau to commemorate this agreement. On the front is placed '214' and '215'(the bordermarkers east and west of Baarle, on the back "anno 1198", on either sides the Dutch and Belgian lions.

The 22th enclave visited in 2003, 2008 and 2021.

This enclave was assigned to Belgium in 1995. In february 2003 we visited this field south to the village of Ulicoten. It's about 1/3 of a larger rectangular field en there's no indication whatsoever about the enclave-status. An older dutch topo was wrong in marking H22: the forest part beneath the letters "th" striped with lines.

But we relied on information of Brendan Whyte: "It is not the square of forest it is marked on. On the NE side of what is shown as Withhagen are two rectangular fields, one with a small bridge over the drain that lines their NE side. The easternmost of these two fields is the true location of withagen, which occupies the northern third of this easternmost field, in other words the portion of the field between the 'a' and 'g' in the word Withagen on the map 50B Breda."

On this picture (seen from north-east to south-west) the enclave is indicated by red lines.
But later on, I learned  that the actual enclave is in the field left to this one on this picture.

In november 2007 Peter Dirven from informed me that a more recent topo of Baarle marked a different field as being H22.
So I checked this with the cadastral maps in Brendan's Whyte's "Én territoire Belge at à Quarante Centimètres de la Frontière": an historical and documentary study of the Belgian and Dutch enclaves of Baarle-Hertog and Baarle-Nassau" and concluded that the new map is correct. On the picture above H22 is thus situated at the field left to what is indicated.

And here we see the correct outline of H22 (new visit in nov. 2008)

In 2021 I returned to H22. This panorama is made of several pictures and the perspective is a bit distorted, it is actually a rectangular field.

We see now an interesting change: the (dutch) fields around H22 have been converted to a nature reserve in which the surface has been scraped off to stimulate nature but the H22-field (being Belgian territory) has escaped scraping and converting and is now actually lying higher than the surroundings.

The quadripoint H1-H2

In Baarle there's a special point, a so-called quadripoint. At a tripoint, three countries meet at 1 point while at a quadripoint four borderlines meet. The Belgian enclaves H1 and H2 in Baarle meet each other at 1 point. There is nowadays (2021) only one other 'bi-national quadripoint' in the world: the Austrian semi-enclave of Jungholz in Germany (connected to Austria at 1 point). Another name for such a point is 'boundary cross'. 'Real' quadripoints (involving four different countries) don't exist (anymore).

In february 2003 we visited this spot and it was well recognizable in the landscape. De Belgian fields had another type of crops. On the apparent quadripoint-spot there was a metal pipe stuck in the ground which we assumed to be a kind of bordermarker. There were no others in the vicinity and it was definitely no drainage pipe or like. If this is the REAL quadripoint, only a land-surveyor can tell.

I returned to the quadripoint in 2021:

Question arose about the status of the metal pipe at the quadripoint. Is this an official geodetic marker or wat it put here by the proprietors of the fields?. This question was anwered by Herman Janssen, chairman of the historical society Amalia van Solm. He wrote me that the metal pipe was once drilled into the ground by one of the owners of the fields. This was confirmed by Peter Dirven, a Baarle native (his website = Moreover, according to Herman Janssen, there is no reference at all in the official documents to this pipe.The fields are privately owned. There have been talks between the Baarle historical society & municipality and the proprietors involved about constructing a corridor to and monument at the spot of the quadripoint but the proprietors refused to cooperate....

Another question: is this pipe on the exact quadripoint or not? Well, the official coordinates of the quadripoint are (Wgs84): 51.43612, 4.93997. On 7-3-202, I made two measurements - one with my Garmins gps and one with my smartphone:

But keep in mind that there will always be a bias of 2-3m if you use consumer-gps-devices. Only professional gps-devices can give the ultimate answer to this question. But my conclusion so far: the metal pipe in indeed a near-precise indication of the quadripoint.