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Kelmis Panorama 01(c)Christian Charlier
Kelmis

Formerly Neutral-Moresnet, now Kelmis. For more than a hundred years, from 1816 to 1919, Neutral-Moresnet constituted an oddity of European history.

Kelmis – a place with a curious history

The name of the village of Kelmis is derived from the zinc ore calamine, which was known as kelme in the region. It was mined there from the early Middle Ages until the end of the 19th century. The village became known internationally in the period from 1816 to 1919. The genesis of the neutral condominium of Moresnet goes back to a conflict between the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and Prussia in determining new borders following the demise of the French Empire. A local coin was minted under the name 'Free Community of Moresnet', but it never went into circulation in the neutral zone. In 1886, eight postage stamps were issued too, with the idea of founding an autonomous local postal service. But they were only on sale for a fortnight, as the postal service was a state monopoly.

Numerous historical relics enable visitors to immerse themselves in the enigmatic past of Kelmis. That history is explained in a clear and interesting way on the history trail, the industrial educational trail, in the Altenberg conservation area, and on information boards not far from the historical zinc mines.

Point of interest

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Kelmis panorama board

The Kelmis panorama board is at the Casino pond in the immediate vicinity of the Altenberg conservation area. An aerial photograph of Kelmis and the surrounding area makes it possible to associate prominent places in...

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2 kelmis museum vieille montagne 02 c christian charlier

Panoramic view

Vieille-Montagne Museum

The destiny of the village of Kelmis is inseparably associated with zinc ore, which was mined there for centuries. The mining of the ore and the production of zinc were strongly influenced by the Vieille-Montagne...

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Border country

At the border triangle, the borders of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands meet. In the times of Neutral-Moresnet, indeed, it wasn't three borders that met here, but four. At the same time, at 323 metres above sea...

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History trail

The Kelmis history trail runs through the middle of this former mining village and depicts it through the ages. The angles at which the 15 illustration plates are viewed have each been selected in such a way as to...

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5 kelmis industrielehrpfad 01 c www.ostbelgien.eu dominik ketz

Industrial educational trail

The industrial educational trail at Kelmis is a varied walk, 7.5 kilometres in length. It begins at the Park Hotel in the middle of the village and runs past various locations which were important for calamine mining...

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6 kelmis casinoweiher naturschutzgebiet altenberg 01 c christian charlier

Casino pond and Altenberg conservation area

The casino pond and the calamine tip at Altenberg are relics of the ore mining activities that took place around Kelmis in the 19th century. Today, the area is a popular destination for excursions and a conservation...

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8 kelmis pfarrkirche 03 c christian charlier

Church of the Assumption

The Catholic parish church of Kelmis is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary into Heaven. This church, built in the neo-Gothic style, was officially opened in 1865. Since then, the red brick building has hardly changed...

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St. John's Protestant Church

The foundation stone of St. John's Church was laid on 7 July 1856. The Vieille-Montagne company, at which some 120 Protestant white and blue-collar workers were employed, provided the land and a large donation. The...

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Pennings houses

The Pennings houses are on the Lütticher Strasse not far from the entrance to the casino pond. These two rough stone houses got their name from the smith who once lived here, Willem Anton Pennings. They are among...

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1 kelmis grenzstein neutral moresnet 03 c christian charlier

Boundary stones

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...

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St. Rochus Chapel

The St. Rochus Chapel was first mentioned in official documents in 1646. It is located at the confluence of the Hohn and Grünstrasser streams on the southern edge of what is Kelmis today. The chapel and the...

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Eyneburg

The Eyneburg was built on a hill high up above the Göhl. It is one of the few hilltop castles in the former Duchy of Limburg. The name Eyneburg or Eyneberghe comes from a family to whom this manor house belonged...

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Calvary of Moresnet

The place of pilgrimage that is Moresnet-Chapelle is a place of veneration of the Virgin Mary and consists of a chapel of mercy, the pilgrimage church and the park-like Calvary with its way of the cross. It has its...

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Moresnet: Göhl valley viaduct

With an overall length of 1107 metres and a height of 52 metres, the Göhl valley viaduct spans the Göhl valley near Moresnet. For some time, it was the longest bridge in the Belgian rail network. The viaduct...