At some 100 km distance from Amsterdam and Brussels, the village BAARLE lies in the heart of the Kempen and central in the fictitious triangle Tilburg, Turnhout, Breda. Baarle itself is to be found on the border of the provinces Antwerp (Belgium) and North-Brabant (Netherlands). So to speak, since it is not simply a village divided in two by a border.
It is unequivocally the most remarkable village in the world: 30 bits of Belgium and the Netherlands, interwoven with each other, together form this two country puzzle. Some kilometres north of the official state border between Belgium and the Netherlands, the Belgian municipality Baarle-Hertog nests itself as 22 loose puzzle pieces in the Dutch municipality Baarle-Nassau. The latter has on its turn 8 such puzzle pieces in Belgium, of which 7 in the Belgian puzzle pieces.
These puzzle pieces are called enclaves. All together, both Baarles are constituted of 30 enclaves: 22 Belgian enclaves, 1 Dutch enclave and 7 Dutch sub-enclaves.
No where else in the world is known of a municipality so extremely interwoven with a municipality of the neighbouring country. This tangle is most visible in geographical respect. But in social, cultural, and economic terms, as well as in the public area, there is a great deal of interaction. Examples are - amongst many others - the mixed (Belgian-Dutch) organisations, the joint international library, the joint cultural centre, common public provisions such as drinking water, gas and sewerage, firms with both a Dutch and Belgian address, and so forth. Typical too is that one, so to speak, at a single glance can observe 2 towns hall, 2 fire services, 2 churches, 2 police services, and double provisions for electricity and telephony.
As a result of the remarkable geographical setting, Baarle has the status of touristy village, one of the features of which are the shop opening on Sunday. The village, particularly on Sundays, is frequently showered by day tourists. Consequently, one enjoys an extended and complete offer as regards shops, cafés and restaurants. Beneath its vivid centre, Baarle also offers a rich nature and agrarian country side. No matter what the tourists are out for, it’s to be found here in Baarle!