The House with Two Numbers – Baarle-Hertog, Belgium - Atlas Obscura

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The House with Two Numbers

This residence straddles a border between Belgium and the Netherlands. 


There are border towns all over the world where houses or entire areas sometimes move from one country to another when the border shifts, but what happens when the border goes through your front door?

The town of Baarle 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, a situation that gave such an administrative headache that it was decided that a house on the border belongs to the country in which it has its front door. This is not a perfect solution, as is exemplified with the house which is simultaneously at Loveren 2 in Baarle-Hertog and 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. In fact, the 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. 

This was not always the case, as there is a famous story about this house from World War II. Allegedly 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.  

The house was built in the 17th century as a tavern called De Swaen. It is now a private residence and one of the most photographed places in the town.

Know Before You Go

The house is a private residence, you are free to take pictures but try not to disturb the owners. 

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