Kleine Wache – Aachen, Germany - Atlas Obscura

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Kleine Wache

A former customs station on the border of Germany and the Netherlands.  


Located close to the highest point in the Netherlands is a tiny little house known as Kleng Wach, Kleine Wache, or the Small Watch. It has marked the border for over a century, and the stone next to it for much longer. 

The building was built somewhere in the 1890s on one of the main streets between Germany and the Netherlands near the town of Vaals. It was used until 1995 when the Schengen Agreement made it obsolete. Not long after,  the municipality of Vaals rented out the building to the local history association Sankt Tolbert Vaals.

Under the watch of the historical association, the building became the smallest and highest museum in the Netherlands. The museum contains a few maps, historical items, border stones, and focuses on the history of smuggling. 

Right behind the building is a small white borderstone, which belongs to some of the oldest border markings of the county. The stone dates back to around 1545, which shows that the border was remarkably stable the last half millennium despite the turmoil that occurred in the area.

Know Before You Go

The museum is open irregularly, but there is a phone number posted on the door. If you call it, they may come over to open it if anyone has time. The people who run the museum are volunteers and happy to share their passion, so do not hesitate to try.

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February 23, 2022

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