• Germany's news in English

Bavarian town shuts Czech border

The Local · 15 Oct 2013, 11:44

Published: 15 Oct 2013 11:44 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The town of Haidmühle in eastern Bavaria closed its crossing with the Czech Republic after suspecting its neighbours of being responsible for burglaries over the summer.

But the Czechs, who were not informed of the decision have reacted angrily, newspaper the Münchner Merkur reported.

The idea to construct the barricade reportedly came about when locals met for a drink at the pub. Haidmühle’s mayor Fritz Gibis reported a “small gathering of citizens”.

In the past a barrier was used in the same location but was removed when the Czech Republic entered the European free travel area known as the Schengen zone in December 2007.

The 71-year-old mayor, who is responsible for the barrier’s construction, has stressed that the barrier is “not forever” – just until peace has been restored.

“The fire brigade and the ambulance services have a key [to open the barrier]," said Gibis. The Bohemian mayor will also soon be given one - as will bus services that use the country road between the two towns.

A series of burglaries in his town over the summer reportedly racked up €20,000 worth of damage and some Haidmühle residents blamed the Czechs from the neighbouring village of Tusset, which lies six kilometres away in the region of Bohemia.

In an effort to tighten border security, police officers were placed on look-out but no thieves were spotted. After ten nights of fruitless surveillance, Haidmühle decided to act anyway and erected the barrier. But the Bohemian mayor was not informed and Czech representatives reacted angrily.

Pavel Kosmata, an official from the South Bohemian railway, wrote a satirical letter to the Bavarian town’s mayor, which he leaked to German and Czech media.

Turning the affair on its head, he quipped that the barrier should stay in order to spare the Czechs from “feisty [German] youths and virtuous [German] citizens that just come over to buy alcohol and cigarettes”.

Many Haidmühle residents, however, cannot see what all the fuss is about. Two pensioners who spoke to the Merkur argued that the road was only meant for cyclists and pedestrians anyway.

But the barrier has already proved dangerous for cyclists riding in the dark – even though a warning light is reportedly in use. “I almost rode into it,” complained one cyclist from Haidmühle. Another Austrian cyclist is reported to have crashed into it.

The controversial barrier, which flies in the face of EU legislation over freedom of movement will be keenly contested by the Czechs at the next tri-national European conference meeting between Lower Bavaria, South Bohemia and Upper Austria.

READ MORE: Village builds giant rake in search for turtle

Story continues below…

The Local/fs

Follow us on Twitter @thelocalgermany

Like The Local Germany on Facebook

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Germans think they're fit, but they're really couch potatoes
Photo: DPA.

There's been an increase in the number of Germans who define themselves as "fit", but their lifestyle choices don't quite match this self-perception.

Intensive farming 'endangers a third of German species'
Photo: DPA

There are 32,000 species of animal, plant and mushroom life native to Germany. Due to intensive farming methods, one in every three of these is endangered, a new report shows.

German hospital uses therapy to 'treat' paedophiles
A poster from the campaigne "Don't offend", which offers therapy to paedophiles. The sign reads "Do you love kids more than you'd prefer? There's help." Photo: DB Scholz & Friends / DPA.

A unique German initiative is offering therapy to paedophiles to control their urges, with the aim of getting them help before they offend.

Minister: 'no tolerance' for clowns after chainsaw attack
Photo: DPA

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has called for a zero-tolerance approach to 'killer clowns' after a series of attacks culminating in two teenagers being chased by a clown wielding a chainsaw.

Baby who was auctioned on eBay taken away from father
Photo: DPA.

A German court ruled on Thursday that a man who put his one-month-old baby up for sale on the online auction platform eBay should only be allowed contact with the child under supervision.

Portugal's ruling party calls German minister 'pyromaniac'
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. Photo: DPA.

The head of Portugal's ruling Socialists called German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble a "pyromaniac" on Thursday after he criticized Lisbon for reversing course on austerity.

These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

Isis suspect charged with scouting Berlin attack sites
Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Thursday they had brought charges against a 19-year-old Syrian man accused of having scouted targets in Berlin for a potential attack by the Isis terror group.

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