Friday, March 08, 2013


We both enjoy cycling along national borders, crisscrossing from one country to the next. For us Britons it is fascinating that within a metre that laws, language, coffee flavour and cakes change completely. In Britain one needs to cross over or under the sea to experience this change. We are also fascinated by the concept of the enclave, an island of one country in another. The Vennbahn cycle route from Aachen (D) to Trois Vierges (LUX) offers the chance to experience slightly artificial enclaves and frequent border crossing on a former railway line, i.e. with very few steep hills. The enclaves arose because two German counties were annexed by Belgium in 1920 under the Treaty of Versailles. In addition Belgium was granted the Vennbahn railway between Aachen and Luxembourg. At the time the line connected the Ruhr coal mines and steelworks with the iron ore and steelworks in Luxembourg. It was of commercial and military importance. Unfortunately the line ran in part to the east of the border of the new Belgian cantons and so a number of German villages found themselves to be enclaves, because it was necessary to cross the railway line back in to the Fatherland. This gave rise to interesting smuggling activities, coffee, for example after WWII when coffee was very expensive in Germany and cheaper in Belgium.
We are hoping to cycle the 125 km route from Aachen to Luxembourg later in the summer. The problem in the moment is what do we do once we arrive in Luxembourg. Although there is an extensive network of cycle routes in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg the routes in the north are steep if memory serves correctly. More research is required. We could take a train from Trois Vierges to Trier and go home cheaply on a Rheinland-Pfalz ticket, but it seems to be a lot of railway for a little cycling.


  1. If you managed to cycle this route can you tell me how you found the path surface? I am worried about punctures on my road bike... any information you have of this trip would be appreciated, thanks Dean

  2. No we didn't cycle the route this year, as we spent several weeks on walking tours. I have contacted a body that should know, but have yet to receive an answer,

  3. I got an answer from the body that should know. Sorry about this delay. My contact suggested that interested parties contact a travel organistaion:

    velosophie sàrl

    144, avenue de la Faïencerie
    L-1511 luxembourg
    tel: +352 26 20 01 32
    gsm: +352 621 45 85 25
    email: velosophie(@)


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