Selfkant is a cartographer’s nightmare town. Sorry, don’t want to scare you — the town itself is quite lovely — just if you were a map maker within the last 50 to 60 or so years, Selfkant would have made you bummed.
What the heck am I talking about? Thanks for asking — let me explain…
After the Second World War, Selfkant was no longer part of Germany. It was annexed to the Netherlands, for which it shares a large chuck of border, and residents were even given Dutch passports.
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It wasn’t until 1963 that Selfkant went back to its German roots. See, German — not German. Dutch — not Dutch. Confusing, no?
Well, at least Selfkant got a bit more worldwide recognition for belonging to the so-called Zipfelbund, a Federation of the four outermost German cities: List (northernmost), Görlitz (easternmost), Oberstdorf (southernmost), and good ol’ Selfkant (westernmost).
Selfkant’s 16 villages are quite tiny, one of which (Dieck) has only ten residents! It would be hard to try ducking your neighbor there, huh?
Despite any border or other issues of citizenship, Selfkant has lots of windmills in the area — just in case you’re the type to find them historical and romantic (like I do). Yes, I said it R-O-M-A-N-T-I-C.
And I’m gonna say it again because the old steam trains could be considered romantic. The steam train museum is only a few Euro and I haven’t met a little boy yet that doesn’t love trains.
Just a quick tip, there’s an animal park (a.k.a. petting zoo, called a Tierpark here in Germany) in neighboring Gangelt, that’s perfect for a day of family fun.
The Farmer’s Museum, a little less romantic but, still quite informative. It’s only open April to October on Wednesdays and Sundays from 1pm-6pm.
Back to the romantic parts of Selfkant, which would be walking along a few of the nature protected areas where you’ll see plenty of flowers and other local fauna blooming.
I don’t think all the natural areas care about old borders and whatnot; and with German, Dutch, and English widely spoken you won’t either. So long as you’re not a cartographer, right? ;-)