Monday, April 6, 2009

In search of Drielanden

map-drielandenpuntThere is a mythical point on ancient maps called Drielandenpunt, where three great empires touch at a single point near the misty city of Vaals.  It has the further distinction of being the highest point in the kingdom of Nederland, over 300 nose-bleeding meters above the zeespiegel water mark.

And so, on a slow spring Sunday, I went in search of…

…adventure, within a few kilometers of home. In the United States, there is a spot where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico meet (the Four Corners Monument).  Drielandenpunt is a similar idea, a cross-cultural theme park atop a 20 km hill east of Maastricht (It’s not at all clear why it should be at the summit, but okay…) .

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It seems straightforward, the logo shows a set of three monoliths and the guide-map has a rifle barrel pointing to the spot. ‘couldn’t be easier?

The first likely marker turned out to be the highest point in the Netherlands.

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The second turned out to be a mysterious Belgian monument

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The third, a spindle near the restaurant, seemed promising, but was a false lead.

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The on-site VVV suggested it was near the flags, left of the German observation tower.

Drielandenpunt 31In the end, I’m not sure that the actual Drie- ever turned up.  The Tower, however. is an interesting study, in a Berlin Wall sort of way (there is barbed wire around the first level…).  A 3-euro ride to the top deposits passengers onto a vertiginous grating with more razor wire and a wonderful panoramic views that made up for the lack of a Punt to the whole exercise.

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