French to the left of me, Germans to the right, here I am, stuck in Leidingen with you

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A village will be celebrating after the upcoming match between Germany and France. How can we be so sure? Leidingen sits on the border between the two countries with only a street separating the two. The street itself has two names, “Neutrale Straße,” or “neutral street” in German and “Rue de la frontière” or “Street of the border” in French.

 

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The division goes back to 1815 when a line was drawn through the street during the Vienna Congress that, after the defeat and surrender of Napoleon Bonaparte, rearranged the borders of Europe. For the next 200 years, Leidingen saw itself changing seven times, between French, German, split, reunified. As recently as 1983 there were customs officers patrolling the main street and fixed crossing times kept farmers and other locals from going to their fields whenever they wanted.

Despite the differences the two nations have had with one another, there is cooperation in Leidingen. Drinking water and sewage for both sides comes from the German side while street lighting for the main road is provided by the French and the two sides take turns clearing snow in the winter.

“It will remain this way. Nobody wants it any different now,” says Wolfgang Schmitt, Leidingen alderman.

With Germany set to play France, only one nation can win but whichever one it may be, Leidingen will too.

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