Border experience stations
A good resolution for the recently-begun new year of 2015 is to overcome borders.
However in many places around the world, the reality is different. Just last summer we got an impression of the border between Israel and Palestine during our Rainbow Project. Also in Germany, fears are growing that generate fuel to establish borders and exclude people.
The border experience stations in the county of Bentheim show how a border that once separated people can also be remembered and experienced in a playful way.
In former times, the border was crossed by itinerant traders and smugglers via secret pathways; today the area between the county of Bentheim, the Dutch region of Twente and the Vechtetal is a fascinating location where both residents and visitors can explore the best of both countries.
A trip to the border area is an expedition in search of differences and similarities, both large and small. Today, the border is hardly visible. Five county experience stations offer the opportunity to actively explore the German-Dutch border.
To this end, in 2012 the BTE Tourism Management and Regional Development Office in Hannover offered the project up for tender. SIK-Holz won the tender and over two years the company developed five exceptional interactive stations along existing bike and hiking trails.
At each location, a rotating column marks the station in both languages and in the national colours of both countries.
This border station is located right on the banks of the Coevorden-Piccardie canal.
The angled observation tower crosses the border. The entrance of the tower is located in Germany, while the viewing point hovers over Dutch ground.
The top platform is located 6.5 m above the ground, offering magnificent views over the surrounding countryside.
The border station is marked by an impressive gate. The gate’s pillars stand both on German and Dutch soil. The road is mostly used by bike tourists, but the gate had to be designed to allow the passage of combine harvesters.
This site is planted with large, sturdy oaks. The border offers views of a Dutch field next to a stretch of woodland.
On the German side there is a climbing garden complete with viewing platforms, from which you can spot for objects in the Dutch forest.
This border station is located in a small wooded area on a slight rise, right next to the bike and hiking trail. The entrance to a high tower with a slide lies in Germany, but when you reach the bottom of the slide, you are in the Netherlands.
The border station is located in a field on the edge of the forest. On the German side, there are two picnic areas. Two play towers connected by a bridge cross the border. On the side facing the field, a large ear trumpet has been installed. The underlying idea is to “listen” to the different landscapes.
In this case, the border station is located between Niedersachsen and Nordrhein Westfalen. On a strip of land next to a dirt road, a boundary swing has been erected in the form of a flying carpet, big enough to accommodate a whole family. The scenic setting directs your gaze over the open landscape towards the border.