Border: Germany-Netherlands

Date(s) of establishment: 1963 (Current demarcation)
Length of border: 577 km
Regions concerned: Netherlands – Provinces of Groningen, Drenthe, Overijssel, Gelderland, Limburg; Germany – Länder of North Rhine–Westphalia, Lower Saxony

European programme(s):

This border, 577 km long, starts in the north on the southern banks of the Ems estuary. It then follows the course of several rivers, including the Rhine before moving into the valley of the Meuse (Maas). It ends with the tripoint formed by the Germany/Belgium and Belgium/Netherlands borders in Vaalserberg, near Aachen.


After long periods under German and Spanish rule, the Netherlands gained independence in 1581 under the name of the United Provinces, and the Kingdom of the Netherlands as we know it today was formed in 1813. Several southern provinces of the Kingdom of the Netherlands became independent in 1830: Belgium independence marked the introduction of the current border demarcation between Germany and the Netherlands.

During the twentieth century, this demarcation was slightly modified, notably by the annexation of the Kingdom by Germany during World War II, and by the ceding of German territories in the Netherlands in 1949. These territories were passed back to Germany in 1963, and the border has seen no other changes since.

Cross-border cooperation

Dutch and German border regions are integrated in two cross-border cooperation programmes. The "Netherlands-Germany" programme focuses on different topics, such as economic development, innovation, the environment and social inclusion. Strengthening economic networks across borders, while taking into account the social and cultural life of border-area inhabitants, has been identified as a priority.

The "Euregio Maas-Rhein" operational programme is a tri-national programme. It is implemented on a smaller scale with regards to the Germany-Netherlands border since it concerns only the central and southern portions of the province of Limburg (NL), the region around Aix-la-Chapelle and the districts of Bitburg-Prüm and Daun (DE) and the provinces of Liège and Limburg (BE). Its cooperation strategy aims to stimulate a common economic, spatial and social development of the cross-border territory. This involves reinforcing its image as an innovative region where social cohesion and environmental protection are integrated into the process of development and job creation.

Many cross-border initiatives have been implemented between the two countries, and several cross-border and interregional structures (Ems-Dollard Regio, Euregio, Euregio Rhine-Waal, Euregio Rhein-Maas-Nord, Euregio Maas-Rhein, Eurode etc.) including the first Euroregion in Europe created in 1958, cooperate to strengthen the competitiveness of their cross-border territory in Europe.

Cross-border cooperation also involves the realisation of "major projects" involving the whole territory aiming for example to raise awareness of cross-border cooperation among businesses, to encourage joint development of renewable energy, and to take into account the two different healthcare systems (which must work on their compatibility).

Territory projects and institutional bodies for cooperation

Cross-border cooperation at the regional level

Euregio Ems Dollard Regio
Euregio Meuse-Rhin
Euregio Meuse Rhin-Nord
Euregio Rhin-Waal
Euregio Waddeneilanden
Réseau de Villes Maastricht-Aachen-Heerlen-Hasselt-Liège

Cross-border cooperation at the local level