Holz border crossing

D-NL Border crossing Neustrasse-Holzstraat before the First World War. The border stone is visible on the right (Kerkrade Municipal Archives)

After the abbots of Rolduc had built the new street to Aachen, a group of houses quickly rose at the important intersection towards the church village of Kerkrade.
To distinguish it from the neighbouring small hamlet of Strass, the new group of houses was named Neustrass, later Holz.
This is the origin of the name ‘Neustrasse’.
Thanks to its location directly alongside the border and the good connections with Herzogenrath, Strass, and Kerkrade, it became a centre of exchange between the Dutch and Germans.
As a result, this border crossing became important for customs officers, although the actual customs office for this area was located further towards Herzogenrath.
The unusual situation of a 2-km state border along the Nieuwstraat resulted in special circumstances and rules.
Depending on the political situation, crossing the border at Holz fluctuated between being either extremely easy or completely impossible when the border was hermetically sealed and could not be crossed in any way.
For a long time, one unusual situation was that you could get off the Dutch tram at the Holz border crossing terminus, then get on the German tram on the other side of Neustrasse and head towards Herzogenrath or Aachen.These days, the Knot of Brotherhood sculpture and the Theo Kutsch Roundabout make this location the ideal place to highlight the close connection of both sides of the border, and remind people how it was a pioneer in the dismantling of boundaries.
It’s a miniature representation of the connecting links of a united Europe!

Peter Dinninghoff

D-NL border crossing Neustraße-Holzstraat before the First World War (Gemeentearchief Kerkrade)

The border was open, only the boundary stone in the middle marked the border that had been drawn almost a century before.

End of the tram line at Holzstraat (Gemeentearchief Kerkrade)

Border fence at the corner of Holzstraat/Neustraße (Gemeentearchief Kerkrade)

The situation after World War II: Now the tramway was hermetically sealed off. The people of Kerkrad no longer had the possibility to change to the tram to Aachen/Herzogenrath. tram to Aachen/Herzogenrath at the Holz border crossing.

Corner of Holzstraat/Neustraße. On the other side of the border the German tram (line 16).

D-NL border crossing Neustraße-Holzstraat late 50s/early 60s (Gemeentearchief Kerkrade)

After the Second World War, the border at Holzstraat remained closed until the Wall was removed in 1995. An old border building can still be seen to the right of the fence. which is later demolished on the German side when Neustrasse is extended.

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