"Mountain Climbing In The Netherlands" Top 5 Page for this destination Vaals by johngayton

Vaals Travel Guide: 39 reviews and 97 photos

Vaals is a small, mainly commuter, town tucked into the corner of Limburg Province where the German and Belgian borders meet. It's best known for its hill, the Vaalserberg, which at 322.7 metres is the highest point in the Netherlands and where the three countries connect.

Apart from its hill there's not really much to the town, although its main shopping street is popular with German shoppers from nearby Aachen for whom Dutch prices are favourable. In addition to the shops there's a clutch of restaurants, a couple of patisseries and it does have its own VVV Tourist Office and souvenir shop.

Although Vaalserberg is the Netherlands highest hill it doesn't really qualify as a mountain and the ascent from the town is a gentle 20 minute stroll and is even cycleable.

At the summit there are a couple of restaurants, a VVV Tourist Office and shop, a kid's play area (including a maze) and a couple of observation towers from which you get a 360 degree panorama of the three countries. For walkers there are waymarked woodland footpaths and of course a circular tour allows you to boast of having walked through Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany in a day (or in a couple of seconds if you merely circle the border marker).

To get up the hill from Vaals take the road called Kerkstraat (??) and turn left at the Drielander Punt signpost. Although this gives the distance as 2 km it is in fact shorter if you take the steeper footpath where the apartment block is rather than follow the road .

Because of its border location many of the local inhabitants were active smugglers and were known as the "Owls of Vaals" due to their nightly activity.

After Vaals became officially part of the Netherlands in 1839 a new country was instituted named Moresnet which was slotted betweeen the three borders and was intended as a free-trade zone to counter the smugglers enterprises. Moresnet didn't have a government as such and caused many terratorial disputes. It didn't really suceed as intended and was incorporated back into Belgium in 1919.

Thus the road that leads from Vaals up to the hill is known as Viergrenzenweg, literally "Four Borders Way".

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The Hill Is The Literal (And Figurative) High Point!
  • In a nutshell:Well Worth A Day Out
  • Last visit to Vaals: Jul 2010
  • Intro Updated Sep 6, 2010
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Reviews (9)

Comments (1)

  • pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo
    Dec 13, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    John, I'm afraid Mount Scenery with its 862 m (on the island of Saba in the Caribbean, now considered an integral part of the Netherlands following the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles) is the highest point :( PJ

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