Schengen: not only politics

Everybody knows the word “schengen”.  For non-European citizens this well-desired word on multi visas in their passports opens doors to French cuisine, Eiffel tower and Cote d’Azur, Octoberfest and La Scala, Gaudi masterpieces, beautiful beaches and high mountains.

But what is behind this word on your visa?

Here we are

The Schengen Agreement led to the creation of Europe’s borderless Schengen Area in 1995. The treaty was signed on 14 June 1985 between five of the then ten member states of the European Economic Community near the town of Schengen in Luxembourg. It proposed the gradual abolition of border checks at the signatories’ common borders. Measures proposed included reduced speed vehicle checks which allowed vehicles to cross borders without stopping, allowing of residents in border areas freedom to cross borders away from fixed checkpoints and the harmonisation of visa policies.

You may find more information on Schengen Agreement and the history of this event on Wikipedia. And we continue the walking tour in Schengen area.

Historical places

If you have time and eagerness you may visit the European museum, which was opened on 13 June 2010, 25 years after the signing of the Schengen Treaty, in the building “Centre Européen”.

The permanent trilingual exhibition on the history and significance of the Schengen Agreements, on 200 square meters of exhibition space, shows visitors that the elimination of the control of persons at the internal borders put into practice one of the four foundational European freedoms set down in the 1957 Treaty of Rome. The signing of the Agreement is documented with historic photos and video and sound footage as well as statements by those involved at the time.

Of course Schengen is well-known for its role in establishement of a new, post WWII Europe. However, the everyday life of the village is far from politics.

Mosel river is a natural border between Luxembourg and Germany

Historically, Schengen is a small wine-making village in far south-eastern Luxembourg, near the tripoint where the borders of Germany, France, and Luxembourg meet.

The largest settlement with the commune of Schengen is Remerschen after which the commune used to be named. The name of the commune was changed in 2006 to take advantage of the Schengen’s name recognition after the signing of the Schengen Agreement there in 1985.

There is even a castle in the village, which dates from 1390 but was almost completely rebuilt in the 19th century. It is now a hotel and conference centre where you may stay couple nights to discover the three-border region and taste the wine as much as you want.

View on a German bank

The “Route du vin” (wine trail) starts here. Over the 42 km, that the Moselle travels from Schengen to Wasserbillig, it has sculpted a hilly landscape, cut out of limestone, representing an ideal birthplace for viticulture.

Situated on the north slope of the river, the vineyards are for the most part between 300 and 400 metres wide, of which more than half (especially in the canton of Remich) consists of deep soils, mixing gypsum and marl. Ideally oriented towards Southeast to Southwest, the best places are situated at an altitude of 150 to 200 metres and benefit from temperate climatic conditions, being under both maritime and continental influences.

In my next post I will tell you about wine of Luxembourg, crements and where to go to taste local wine and spoil yourself with the luxuary life.

Future Riesling

It was not the best day for the outing. Dark clouds were coming closer and closer and at the end of our tour we cut the trail and hid in the nearest cafe

Meanwhile we go deeper in to the forest

View on German territory

Mosel moves between the hills as a snake

Patchwork of fields

Farmers are always busy at this time of the year


Useful links:

Walking tours around Schengen (in French) – maps and explanation can be found here 

Bicycle tours (in French) – you may download maps and GPS  here 

Rent a bike

You may take either long tour of 25-50 km or bike around the village in vineyards and along the Mosel river.

Schwebsingen – Camping du Port
Am Hafen 1, L-5447 Schwebsingen
Tél. (+352) 23 66 44 60
Open: 15 April – 1 November , Monday-Sunday from 08:00 to 20:00

Remerschen – Auberge de jeunesse Remerschen
31, route du Vin,  L-5440 Remerschen
Tél. (+352) 26 66 73 1
Monday-Sunday from 08:00 to 10:00 and from 17:00 to 22:00

Schengen – Centre Européen Schengen
Rue Robert Goebbels, L-5444 Schengen
Tél. (+352) 26 66 58 10
Monday-Friday from 09:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 17:00

Saturday-Sunday from 14:00 to 18:00

Where to stay

Schengen castle – a hotel and a conference center