DRIELANDENPUNT – VAALS
The 3 Travellers visited a triple point (three-country point), where the borders of the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium meet. It is located in the city of Vaals in the Netherlands. We explored the place last August (Summer 2020) when I was living in Heerlen, Netherlands. My fellow travellers visited Heerlen to hang out with me and it is never just a visit, it always ended up wandering someplace nearby. Since the time I moved to the south of the Netherlands, I have wanted to visit this place as it holds a special history.
We started from Heerlen around 8 AM, it was probably the first time we started our travels that late in the morning. I used to live near the city centre of Heerlen. We took a direct bus to Busstation, Vaals from Akerstraat, Heerlen. It is a 50 minutes bus ride travelling through Kerkrade, Simpelveld, Bocholtz, Wittem, Lemiers and finally Vaals. The bus ride was just as amazing as the whole time there were ups and downs in the narrow streets of the country. Technically, it is one of the highest points in the Netherlands. Coming from India, where we would visit a mountainous region usually in summer, Netherlands was a complete contrast for us, as it is mostly flat land. So, travelling to a place like Vaals was a great change for us.
From the Busstation Vaals, we got the next bus to the Drielandenpunt (triple point in Dutch) in 5 mins and it was quite a quick ride up the hill from there. However, we still had to walk from there as no vehicles are allowed after a certain point. It was the time in the Netherlands when the corona situation was quite a bit under control and the restrictions were a bit less. So, we could see so many tourists from all three countries there. There were also many university students like us from Germany as Aachen is nearby and tourists from Belgium.
Things that can be done on the top: It is a place mainly for children and for parents to sit out in the restaurants and chill while the kids enjoy playing there. We could see so many children along with their parents. People were celebrating their birthday parties there. The place has got its wonderful terrace restaurants with famous foods from all three countries. And you can discover the largest and most exciting labyrinth in the Netherlands. There are tickets for the children’s play area and labyrinth. You can find all the details about that on this website https://www.drielandenpunt.nl/. There are many other interesting activities for children and adults like shooting competition, Quests, Boundary stone challenge, Game without limits, etc.,
The most attractive things for travellers there are viewing the boundary post ‘real’ three-country point and King Baudouin Tower. Where you can see many people waiting to take pictures. You need to get a ticket to climb the tower and from the top of the tower, you get to see all the three countries from such a height. It is such an amusing view from the top. The boundary post is what we usually get to see in all the Youtube videos when we look for this place. Other important things that we noticed when we were there are: 14th-century boundary stone Aachener Wald, 18th-century boundary stone, Symbolic three-country point (and the highest point of the Netherlands) and these are some boundary markers there.
After exploring the whole place, we sat for some time and had our lunch with other friends who had tagged along with us this time. For a change, we decided to walk back from the top of the hill to Busstation, Vaals on our way back. As it is not too far and anyway it is downhill so it won’t be hard. We started to walk through the forest rather than the road down. It felt like a small forest hike down. We got to see a few other tourists trying to walk through it like us, but most of them didn’t. It was 2.5kms a walk through the forest and it was a refreshing experience, we enjoyed it on the whole. As I was living close to the place and it takes only 50 mins to go back home, we had so much time left and we toured Vaals. We bought some souvenirs as we always do when we travel. I have this habit of collecting fridge magnets from every city I travel to, so I had bought some, and other touristy things from shops there. After a long day of walking and travelling by bus, we reached back home and I also showed my other fellow travellers the city I was living in (Heerlen) and the next day as well.
©The 3 Travellers