|Country|| ||The Netherlands|
|Height|| ||322 metres (1056 feet)|
|Vertical Elevation|| ||0 metres (carpark)|
|Location|| ||Limburg Province (Southeast)|
|Nearest town|| ||Gemmenich|
|Start/Finish|| ||Vaalserberg carpark|
|Climbing time|| ||<5 minutes|
|Distance|| ||<100 metres|
|Grade|| ||1/5 Drive|
|Other peaks|| ||None|
When I wrote home telling friends that I'd just climbed the highest mountain in the Netheherlands, the first question I was asked was "I didn't know there was a highest mountain!".
Ok, so climbing Vaalserberg requires little more than parking your car and rolling out the door. However the Netherlands highest point is also the point at which Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands all come together, meaning not only can you climb a highpoint, but you can also walk about 30 centimetres and cross into three countries. And if that isn't enough, there is also a maze, a look-out tower (although it's in Belgium) and even a cafe to sit down at after all this excitement.
There are also a number of hikes and trails in the area for those wanting a little more excercise. There are even a few trails which wind their way up the mountain, meaning you can at leave feel like you've climbing something rather than shuffled a few steps from the car. Given our plan was to climb the highest point in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg in a day, we opted for the rolling out the door visit.
You can visit Vaalserberg all year round. Check out dreilandenpunt for more information about the area (although you'll need to read Dutch to understand the site - which I don't).
You can reach Vaalserberg from both the Dutch (Netherlands) and Belgian side. The nearest (big) town is Aachen in Germany, however the closest town to aim for is Gemmenich (ie plugging into a GPS) in Belgium. As you head north through Gemmenich, keep a look out for the Route des Trois Bornes sign on the right. Drive too fast and you'll miss it. From here, the road winds up the hill and eventually ends up in a carpark. From the Gemmenich turn-off the distance is 2.2km and should take no more than 4 minutes to the carpark). There is a giant viewing platform at the summit, although you tend to lose this behind buildings and trees. We didn't check out the Dutch approach, but it also looks pretty easy to find your way to the carpark (on the Dutch side - ie there are two carparks).
Like I said. Park your car, open the door and you're almost there. Ok, so you have to walk about 100 metres, but you're walking on a paved path. (At least on the Belgian side, you need to pay to exit the carpark. A couple of Euros). I'm not going to describe how to find the highpoint. If you can't find it, you probably shouldn't be allowed out of the house.
There are actually a few other cool things to do while here. The Drielandenpunt (Three-Country Point) in Dutch, or Dreilandereck (Three-Country Corner) in German, or Trois Frontieres (Three Borders) in French has a flag from each of the adjoining countries (Germany, Belgium and Netherlands). Be sure to bring a few Euro's to use the coin press. You can squish a coin into a Three Point momento (sure to last a lifetime).
There is a big viewing tower (technicallly in Belgium). It was closed when we were there (from memory, it's closed on Monday's and Tuesday's). It also costs a few Euros to climb.
There is maze off to one side (we didn't really check it out), a tourist shop and a few cafe's. I'm guessing on the weekend there is a whole lot more action.
View Vaalserberg in a larger map
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