I come from Gemünd, quite close to the Belgian border and beautiful Vennbahn-bicycle track across the two countries. In my master thesis at the German-Polisch border town Frankfurt (Oder)/Slubice, I analysed the mutual perceptions of German speaking Belgians and Germans from the Eifel region. Here is what I wrote in the excerpt of my master thesis:
“In modern Europe, crossing state borders is no longer exceptional in people’s everyday life, especially not for those living in border regions, where lines between different countries get blurry and borders become dynamic systems due to constant cross-border interaction. This is why, after a general introduction to border studies, European border regions will be discussed, and exemplified by the region along the German-Belgian border.
In a survey, I asked people in this region were asked about how they perceive life at the border, to find out about their attitude towards the neighbouring country, its inhabitants and the border region. The results show that different problems, as well as opportunities, arise from cross-border contact, but most important is the fact that, due to a common history, people share part of their culture and German as their common mother tongue. This is what makes cross-border interaction particularly easy and
leads to a high significance of the countries’ neighbourhood, especially for Belgian inhabitants.
Due to this, there is a high level of dynamism across the German-Belgian border, which can thus be defined as a ‘Border in Motion’, i.e. a region where state borders vanish, because they no longer serve as obstacles to cross-border interaction.”