Wednesday, January 04, 2012


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This was my friend's first time in Europe, so we hoped to nip over the border into the Netherlands on our way back south so she could get at least a tiny taste of another country.  We weren't sure where to go, so we brought it up with one of the women working at our hotel.  She suggested Bourtange - it's just across the border and conveniently marked on the Autobahn.  The name rang a bell - a few months ago, I'd been looking at some town near the German-Dutch border on Google Maps and noticed the border was a bit funny-shaped in that area.  Interested, I started following the border and discovered this incredible star-shaped fort thing just inside the Netherlands.  It's very impressive on Google Maps but I had managed to forget about it in the meantime, figuring we'd never get somewhere so remote anyway.

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But, now we had a chance! Bourtange was easy to find, just as she said - there's a sign on the Autobahn, then you follow a small road right into the Netherlands.  Oddly, it gets even smaller when you cross the border, almost as if they were trying to discourage Germans from coming in! ;)  Then Bourtange is only a turn or two down the road.

Visiting Bourtange is free, but if you go through the visitor center, they will try to sell you tickets to see a movie and display about it.  It was vague enough that we thought we needed tickets to see Bourtange itself and almost bought some before we figured it out - so be careful. :)

We'd expected a mere cool fort formation with a few neat features, but it turns out there's an entire little village of shops and things inside the fort!  Surprise!  They were selling standard tourist items and nothing to write home about, but wandering the radiating pattern of cute little streets was worth the quick stop.  The whole place has actually been restored in the past 30 years or so - photos in the visitor's center lobby show it looking not unlike any old town in the 60s. We got pannenkoeken for lunch at a little cafe, then crossed the border back into Germany and headed southward toward home again.

Check out the Picasa photos for more details on what's in Bourtange!  The windmill photo in this post was taken by my friend, but all Picasa photos were taken by me.

Bourtange Okt 11

1 comment:

  1. If the French hadn't come by in 1693 Mannheim would still have almost the same shape as that fort. Just with almost the whole Quadrate area including the entire Planken shopping area inside the fortress. ;)


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