At the midpoint of the Moselle River, which winds its way through the heart of Europe, is a place where three nations meet: Luxembourg, Germany, and France. Thus, nearly 34 years ago, the concept of a Europe without borders was born right here.

Many people are familiar with the Schengen Agreement, which permits the free movement of people and goods among the 26 member states of Europe. Those with a Schengen Visa can freely tour more than half of the European continent.

But have you ever stopped and thought of Schengen as a place?

Who is aware of this? Perhaps you will make this pastoral wine-developing village in Luxembourg your subsequent weekend getaway.


Not just an ancient agreement

As you could have guessed, the Schengen Agreement received its name from the small village in Luxembourg, wherein the treaty was first signed in June 1985 among Belgium, France, West Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.

The vicinity of Luxembourg at the tripoint with France and Germany changed into a symbolic preference, as it’s a form of a miniature model of Europe. Thus, there became no higher place to decide on the concept of open borders than at the junction of 3. By doing this, the initial signatories committed to their purpose and showed what they hoped to achieve.

Back then, the belief in free motion among European nations was considered innovative.

“This idea of open borders becomes a bit of a utopia. In 1985, you couldn’t believe that there could be open borders, especially between Germany and France. So this becomes quite exceptional,” Martina Kneip, director of the European Museum Schengen, advised DW.

Around forty 000 visitors come to Schengen every year to look at the small Luxembourg border town that has become a symbol of a borderline journey within the EU.

For many, the principal destination is the European Museum Schengen.

Out front, the “Columns of Nations” symbolically represent every one of the 26 countries within the Schengen Area with a metallic big-name sculpture. The member countries’ flags wave in the wind on the rest of the rectangular.

Through interactive shows and archival footage, traffic can witness the signing of the Schengen Agreement and its effect and legacy across Europe and the world. In a glass case in opposition to the returned wall, there are 30 customs officials’ carrier caps from throughout Europe, reminding visitors of the formalities that border travel as soon as entailed.

The museum isn’t simply there to inform visitors; it symbolizes a unified Europe and a commonplace European identification. Museum director Kneip, initially from Freiburg, a metropolis in Germany’s southwest, placed close to France and Switzerland, is a firm believer of this: “There’s a hazard if human beings take [the Schengen Agreement] as a right. It’s now not a given—you must paint on it daily, and we must do that to prevail.”

Trekking without borderlines

The vicinity around Schengen offers much more than a lesson in European records. Its rolling nation-state is a tremendous vacation spot for day hikes. I selected a roughly three-hour loop hike known as “Schengen without boundary lines,” which promised to exhibit all international locations at the border triangle.

I turned into a touch skeptical in the beginning. It felt like “borderless” became just a modern-day touristic label. But I determined to go along with it.

The 7.7 km (four.8 miles) hike starts offevolved at the European Museum Schengen and loops via France and Luxembourg, offering stunning perspectives of all three border international locations.

The path snakes its way through vineyards, thick woods, farm paths, fields overrun with brilliant yellow rapeseed, and narrow switchbacks. It opens midway to a plateau of shell limestone, searching over river valleys and wine villages alongside the Moselle River.

Despite my preliminary doubts, there may be something quite fascinating about seeing the border triangle from three hundred meters (984 ft) above sea stage. While the occasional coal barge slowly moves downriver, vehicles and vans’ rankings seamlessly move back and forth between Germany, Luxembourg, and France. No barbed twine fence, no border guards.