Cycle route borderless along the Wire of Death
Budel, Hamont, Achel
Your cycling adventure begins on the outskirts of Budel. It won't be long before you leave the Netherlands behind and cross the border into Belgium. In this area, where the southern provinces meet our southern neighbours, you will discover charming villages, beautiful forests and fascinating sights.
During World War I, the Netherlands remained neutral, while Belgium was occupied by the Germans. For this reason, the Germans placed a guarded border, known as the Wire of Death. This separation not only served as a barrier between the free world and a world in conflict, but was also literally life-threatening because of the high electrical voltage on it. A touch with this wire was lethal. A homemade wooden window, seen in the route photo, allowed people to cross the border anyway.
The history of this area shows that borders often bring unrest. Besides the former customs houses in Hamont, you also pass similar dwellings just beyond Achel. This is where customs officers from the cyclists' brigade stayed to combat smuggling in the region.
After this journey through the region's history, you may also want to enjoy the countryside. As your route nears its end, you will pass Monastery De Achelse Kluis with surrounding nature reserves. Besides the beautiful monastery, you can also visit the observation tower in the area. With stunning views of the region in mind, you'll drive the last part of the route along the border between the Netherlands and Belgium, which is thankfully now open and accessible.
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