Aachen area Coal and gorillas – Euregio rocks
As every schoolboy knows, coal literally drove the industrial revolution. And coal was the driving force behind the Aachen area for many, many years.
The region where Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands meet (Dreiländereck) used to be a traditional coalmining area, and the relics of the mining industry – spoil heaps, mineshafts and workers’ housing estates – are still to be seen in many towns and villages in this corner of the three countries, many now transformed into leisure facilities and cultural amenities. The spoil heap and land occupied by the Carl-Alexander pit in Baesweiler, for example, has spawned the Carl-Alexander Park, one of the region’s favourite leisure destinations.
Anyone who likes getting off the beaten track will simply love the boundless borderland of these parts. Aacheners – of both the lifelong and the “passing through” variety – live out the European dream because it has a lot going for it! Whether marvelling at the gorillas in the GaiaPark (NL), taking a bike-ride through the former Belgian mining towns or throwing caution to the winds and roping up for a high-level obstacle course in Aachen’s city woods, the sky’s the limit.
And when the Pinkpop Festival in the grounds of the Dutch stately home at Landgraf has reached its crescendo and the tents of three proud nations have sunk into the European mud, languages and jurisdictions fade benevolently into insignificance, leaving – simply – homo europeus party-ensis. Aacheners and their friends.
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