• Germany's news in English

Hessian border town changing states after 50-year campaign

DDP/The Local · 9 Sep 2009, 10:54

Published: 09 Sep 2009 10:54 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Stormbruch is just a stone’s throw away from Bontkirchen, which was assigned to North Rhine-Westphalia after WWII, though it continues to be the spiritual home of many Stormbruch residents. The separation, marked by a stream called the Itter, has engendered countless problems for residents caught between two administrative systems.

Bureaucratic difficulties have plagued the daily lives of the 22 residents in the tiny enclave. For Marion Votland and her husband, a special permit was needed to allow their children to attend school in neighbouring Bontkirchen, her hometown, despite the nearest Hesse school being miles away with no bus transport.

“I am happy that all this bureaucracy is coming to an end soon,” she told news agency DDP.

“Even postal delivery is a disaster. Letters are not delivered because the postal service assigns us to North Rhine-Westphalia, but our address officially belongs to Hesse,” added local sawmill owner and carpenter Ernst Hennecke.

But life on the border will likely end on Wednesday, when the North Rhine-Westphalia parliament is expected to approve a treaty taking Stormbruch into the state. This comes after the Hesse parliament spoke out in favour of a border change in July this year.

According to Volker Becker, mayor of Diemelsee, the administrative region to which Stormbruch currently belongs, there has been cross-border agreement on the matter for over three years now.

“They’re always talking about a unified Europe, but here even this small area has been divided. The people from Bontkirchen, now living in Stormbruch, bear no social resemblance at all to the people of Diemelsee,” he said.

The question as to why it has taken so long for the parliaments to reach a decision remains unanswered. Even the outline for the treaty itself acknowledged that the campaigns had been taking place “since the end of the 1950s.”

Story continues below…

“If the parliament in North Rhine-Westphalia approves the treaty on its second hearing, it will come into effect around October 1,” confirmed Heike Dederer, a spokesperson for the Hesse parliament.

While the end may be in sight, it won’t come cheaply. North Rhine-Westphalia will have to pay Hesse €390,000 for the privilege of gaining 22 extra residents – the price the other state has exacted for the loss in tax revenue.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

Eurowings strike to hit 40,000 passengers
Travelers impacted by the strike on Thursday wait at Cologne Bonn airport. Photo: DPA.

The day-long strike by a Eurowings cabin crew union is expected to impact some 40,000 passengers on Thursday as hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

US 'warned Merkel' against Chinese takeover of tech firm
Aixtron HQ. Photo: DPA

The German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese firm to purchase Aixtron, which makes semiconductor equipment, after the US secret services raised security concerns, a German media report said Wednesday.

Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd