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Mysterious vastness of a historical cultural landscape


At 635 metres, Elsenborn is one of Belgium’s highest villages. With some 1,000 inhabitants, it is especially characterised by the military training ground and its heath landscape, which is veined with open stream valleys and can boast a considerable diversity of species. This is a landscape which was typical of many of the villages in the Hocheifel in earlier times. In Elsenborn, this unique form of scenery was able to be preserved by the establishment of the military training ground, which is 28 km² in area. Today, this open belt of land is an important habitat for numerous animals and plants.

Point of interest

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Elsenborn viewpoint indicator

The panorama board at Elsenborn is not far from hiking node 67 and the Vennhof cross. The site is surrounded by lush green meadows and offers a good view of the foothills of the Hohes Venn.


Flora and fauna

On account of its rare fauna and flora, the majority of the military training ground is considered to be an area worthy of protection, and for that reason it has been included in the Natura 2000 programme. In this Europe-wide network, coherent protected zon


Former boundary stones

It was on today's military training ground at Elsenborn that the border between the duchies of Jülich and Luxembourg ran in former centuries. At that time, the difficult terrain was used by the inhabitants of the villages of Elsenborn (Duchy of Lux


Herba Sana – the health garden

Healing with herbs, ‘Health in Harmony with Nature’ is the motto of the natural remedy manufacturer Ortis. In Herba Sana, the company’s own physic garden, the philosophy of this family enterprise is illustrated. There are 120 different med


Hohe Mark – a remarkable landscape

Aan de rand van het militaire oefenterrein, waar het vuur niet komt bij het gecontroleerd afbranden om het heidelandschap te behouden, zijn enkele overblijfselen van oude bossen met eiken- en rode beukenbomen bewaard gebleven. De Hohe Mark bijvoorbeeld is e


Measures to conserve the cultural landscape

Particularly on account of its military use and the fires which are allowed to burn on a regular basis, the hay meadows with spignel, and the heathland, of the kind that surrounded almost every village in the Hocheifel 200 years ago, have been able to subsi


Military training ground

The Elsenborn military training ground was established for the Prussian Army in 1894. At that time, Elsenborn was part of the Prussian Rhine province and thus also part of the German Empire. The first soldiers were garrisoned in tents and with village farme


Schwalmbach valley and Bieley rock

The Schwalmbach valley is a conservation area, 209 hectares in size, in the border region between Belgium and Germany. The source of the Schwalm is not far from the N658 between Rocherath and Wahlerscheid (D). The stream runs through the military zone and i


The legend of the Lützevennsmännchen

Naturally, there used to be hunting in the woods and Venn valleys around what is now the military training ground. On one such hunt, three hunters were pursuing a hare, but it managed to get away from them again and again. Whilst two of them soon abandoned


Winter sports

In the winter, Elsenborn is largely devoted to winter sports. The cross-country ski trails are prepared for both the classical and the skating style and enable visitors to do laps of up to 14 kilometres. Altogether there are 800 pairs of cross-country skis



The Truschbaum is up near Griesdeck on Elsenborn’s Lagerstrasse. Where today’s tree stands there used to be an ancient beech which, according to the tradition, lived to be approximately 200 years old. For a very long time, that tree presumably s

Contact us

High Fens House for Tourism – East Belgium NPO
East Belgium
Place Albert I 29a
4960 Malmedy

T. +32 80 33 02 50
E. info@ostbelgien.eu
S. www.ostbelgien.eu