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Boundary stones

Description

In the Preuswald, between Kelmis and Aachen, there are many different boundary stones to be discovered. They bear witness to the variegated history of this region.
The Preuswald got its name from the Central German word preus, meaning 'border'. Along the hiking trails, there are still many traces to be seen of the disputes relating to territories and their borders.

Eagle stones

These date from the 14th century. They demarcate the former Aachener Reich. The barrier known as the Aachener Landgraben was created in the Aachener Stadtwald (municipal forest) as a second line of protection. Some 20 of the 138 original boundary stones can still be found. They are adorned with an eagle (coat of arms of the town of Aachen).

Burgundy stones

1615 border to the Spanish / Austrian Netherlands
In the Middle Ages, and well on into the modern age, the forests, with their stocks of firewood and sustenance (fruit and berries) have provided humans with valuable resources – and the way they have been exploited has duly been intensive. To the south-west of Aachen, the forestry rights were in dispute for a long time, with Aachen, Limburg (Moresnet) and the Duchy of Jülich-Berg all making claims. In 1611, the imperial town of Aachen and the Spanish Netherlands in Brussels concluded an agreement covering the forest areas that had, until then, remained in common use. To put an end to the argument, the area in question was placed under the direct care of the Dukes of Burgundy, and the so-called Königswald came into being. As from 1615, the Königswald was marked out with special boundary stones, known as Burgundy stones. These stones did not demarcate between countries or municipalities, but between common and royal forest.

The 700 morgen of forest (approx. 230 hectares or 570 acres) is still known as the Königswald today. Insignia and inscriptions on the Burgundy stones, of which there were various different versions, were always made so as to face the Königswald. If the stones depict a Golden Fleece, they date from the period of Spanish rule (17th century). If they bear the bough cross of Burgundy, they were erected during the period of Austrian rule (18th century). Some of them can still be seen in the forest today.

Boundary stones of Neutral-Moresnet

In 1869-1870, the wooden border posts of the neutral condominium of Moresnet were replaced with boundary stones. The borders were drawn in the form of a straight line through houses, meadows, woods etc. Not even the customs officers knew exactly where they were. More than 50 of the 60 boundary stones can still be found today.

Present-day boundary stones

The present-day boundary stones are marked with a D on the German side and a B on the Belgian side. The line on the top shows the direction in which the border runs. Every five years, these boundary stones are checked by German and Belgian survey officers and adjusted or repainted if necessary.

Gallery

Contact details

Boundary stones
4720 Kelmis