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I'd like to visit the Netherlands, and I can see that flights are much cheaper to Weeze, Germany (NRN) than to any airport in the Netherlands. Since Weeze is right next to the Netherlands, I would like to land in Weeze and walk to the Netherlands. So am I allowed to walk into the Netherlands at that border crossing 2km south of Weeze? Is this allowed? Are there border checks or do I somehow have to announce this? Is there even a passable border there? This is completely abstract to me, and I have no way of figuring out what the rules are.

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    Where do you want to walk to? Because Weeze airport indicates that it has buses to Kevelaer for 7€ .
    – Peter M
    Feb 18 at 18:35
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    Do you just want to cross the border, or do you also want to go anywhere else? It seems the nearest bus stop in the Netherlands is still 7km from Weeze airport, so destination matters.
    – Berend
    Feb 18 at 18:52
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    @PeterM Kevelaer is still in Germany, though.
    – Dubu
    Feb 19 at 11:22
  • @Dubu Yeah. I misread the map. But I would think that you could get more transportation to other places from there rather than walking to the closest places in the Netherlands
    – Peter M
    Feb 19 at 14:25
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    This question suggests that you expected difficulties. Please elaborate a little on where you come from, and why you are expecting difficulties. One thing that comes to mind is that in the US, walking along roads might prompt a police check, as I experienced during lunch break. They expect that you either need help (car trouble) or are broke and might engage in something criminal. In The Netherlands, people are less focused on cars.
    – Roland
    Feb 19 at 18:58

6 Answers 6

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From Weeze to the Netherlands there are low traffic flow roads.

As common in the Netherlands, next to them there is a cyclist dedicated path, which can also be used by pedestrians.

This is an example of how it would look, taken from Google Maps

enter image description here

the one on the right is the cycle path I was mentioning.

When you walk there, be mindful of incoming cyclists and try as much as possible not to unnecessarily obstruct their passage, unless you want a crash course in Dutch or Limburgse cussing.

There are no border controls, as both countries are in the Schengen area.

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    “… which can be used also by pedestrians” but shouldn’t. In the picture you posted there is a beautiful sidewalk, for pedestrians only, on the left side of the photograph. That is where pedestrians should go.
    – 11684
    Feb 19 at 8:22
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    @11684 I was just about to post a comment saying that using a dedicated bike lane as a pedestrian is not at all common where I live (in a Dutch city), but it is allowed when no dedicated "pedestrian lane" is available. The "beautiful sidewalk" here ends after maybe 100m and crossing the road twice to use it would be unnecessarily unsafe.
    – Reznik
    Feb 19 at 8:40
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    Hm. This is obviously a residential area, and there are zero cars on this specific picture. I would not expect a lot of traffic here at any time of day, so I don't quite see that "unnecessarily unsafe" or "very dangerous" aspect, as long as you look left and right before crossing. Feb 19 at 14:39
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    Outside city limits, pedestrians are fully expected to walk on bicycle lanes. Preferably in the opposite direction the bicycles are travelling in (if possible). With in city limits you just walk where it's most safe and convenient. In the example from google maps, I'd definitely choose the bicycle lane. Feb 19 at 19:07
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    @StephanKolassa The area may be residential, but that doesn’t mean the road is. If you Street View up and down the road a bit, you’ll see that there is a reasonably amount of traffic, and quite a lot of it is large lorries, some even timber lorries. My parents live close to a road that’s very similar to this one, and while I do sometimes walk on it, it’s not exactly safe, because a lot of cars, including lorries, go quite fast, and there are only gutters. Feb 20 at 13:22
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So am I allowed to walk into the Netherlands at that border crossing 2km south of Weeze?

Yes.

Is this allowed?

Yes. Pedestrian border crossings between the Netherlands and Germany are quite common.

Are there border checks or do I somehow have to announce this?

There are no "regular" border checks, but depending on where you cross, there can be spot check. One of my sons used to live in this area and the border police often checked the busses to look for weed.

You do not have to announce this. You can just walk across the border

Is there even a passable border there?

According to Google maps there is, but walking near airports or borders can have a few wrinkles that Google doesn't know about. This being said, both Germany and the Netherlands are very pedestrian friendly and this type of "walk across" border is very common, so you have a good chance of making it just following Google Maps

This is completely abstract to me, and I have no way of figuring out what the rules are.

There are very few rules. Since you are in Schengen territory you are absolutely allowed to cross borders. Technically you are required to carry ID but other than that: if you find a path that's open, it's yours to take.

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Just a reminder, that if you do choose to do this, then (assuming you need a Schengen) visa, then you will still need to apply to the Dutch authorities, not the German ones

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    In case someone needs a source for this claim: "If you want to apply for a visa for the Netherlands but will be visiting other countries in the Schengen area as well as the Netherlands, you should only apply to the Schengen country associated with your main purpose of travel. Otherwise your application will be rejected." see netherlandsworldwide.nl/visa-the-netherlands/…
    – Vincent
    Feb 19 at 12:33
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Both Germany and the Netherlands are in the Schengen area and the border checks which are needed will be done on arrival in Germany, which those are depends on where you come from.

There will be no border formalities on the German - Dutch border, although spot checks are possible.
Which means that you can cross the border wherever there are roads and paths.

But as I do not live in the area I am not familiar with the infrastructure, a good detailed map, there are some available online, will help you.
It might also be possible to use public transport, if you do not fancy a hike to a main town.
This planner will help with buses and trains in the Netherlands.
And this planner does trains and buses in Germany, both sites also have English versions.

This is common knowledge in the Netherlands as well as in Germany, but often confirmed to me by cycling stories of friends who do live in the border area.

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Article 22 of the Schengen Borders Code says, in its entirety,

Internal borders may be crossed at any point without a border check on persons, irrespective of their nationality, being carried out.

So, as another answer says, if you see a way across the border, you can take it. There aren't designated crossing points as there are on most international borders.

Articles 23 and following provide for exceptions, which are supposed to be temporary and limited, but as a foreign visitor all you really need to know is that it's fine to cross the border if you have your passport and as long as no signs or government agents tell you otherwise.

(If temporary controls are reintroduced you might see a government agent who will let you pass after looking at your passport, or you might see a sign telling you to cross somewhere else; I've never seen temporary internal controls in person so I don't know firsthand how they're implemented; just use common sense.)

Police aren't supposed to operate regular checkpoints at these borders, but they do watch areas near borders more closely than similar areas away from borders, so you shouldn't be surprised if you're stopped and asked for ID. It may be unlikely, but it's somewhat less unlikely than if you were walking down a similar road 100 km from the border.

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    "It may be unlikely" - It's not that unlikely, and racial profiling is also common under those circumstances. It varies with the different borders in the Schengen area, though.
    – Erlkoenig
    Feb 19 at 14:25
  • The list of temporary reintroductions of border controls is not short: a few of the examples right now are that Germany has controls on its borders with four of its neighbours (Austria, Poland, Czechia and Switzerland), Denmark on its border with Germany, and France on all its borders, but the Germany-Netherlands border seems to be uncontrolled in both directions.
    – Henry
    Feb 21 at 2:52
  • @Henry indeed, and thanks for the link. But given historical tensions around drug tourism on the German-Dutch border, I would expect that is that there is a fairly robust police presence and, as mentioned, a slightly higher chance of being approached by police than elsewhere. This shouldn't be more than some questions and possibly a request to see identification (unless the questioning arouses suspicion, of course). In other words, the absence of formally notified temporary reintroduction of controls doesn't mean that someone walking across the border certainly won't be stopped by police.
    – phoog
    Feb 21 at 9:46
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Aside from potential visa and border check issues, Google maps shows a nice 1hr & 20 minute walk from the P2 parking to cross the border and thence through a park with a bridge over a divided lake or pond (much more direct than driving) to a restaurant Bosbrasserie In de Sluis.

From there you could take a 15 minute walk to Well, Leuken, then a local bus #83 for 39 minutes (24 stops) and the intercity train to (say) Eindhoven, altogether about 3 hrs plus however long waiting times for train and bus.

I guess there are worse ways to spend an afternoon.

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    Hm. Depending on the weather!
    – phoog
    Feb 21 at 9:37

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