Our first trip “on the field” took place at the “Goldene Bremm” between Metz and Sarrebrucken.
The customs offices at this border between France and Germany were abandoned in 1993 but some of the buildings still remain nowadays, surprisingly well conserved.
Afterwards, we decided to follow the border in order to see the traces that are still visible after opening the borders. One of the most interesting place we stumbled upon is the village of Leiding / Leidingen which is half French and half German.
In Leidingen/Leiding, we met some people who told us a little more about the history of this place. When the borders controls still existed, people were living relatively fine with this. If they wanted to go to a party on the other side, they could go through the official checkpoints opened 24/24h or they could also cross the fields between the rounds of the soldiers who were walking on the “green border”. People had no problem to understand themselves speaking the “Plat” dialect (a mix of German and French language). Today, most of the young people don’t speak anymore this dialect. They can learn the German and French at school or even earlier, but unfortunately there is no big interest to learn the neighbour’s language. So we can say, that even if borders are now open, it may be more difficult for the young generation to communicate, even if they live at the same place.
Today, the neutral street (“Neutrale Straße”) that divides the two villages (and countries) still exists. The villages are still the same with the French and German parts, two churches, two cementaries, mailboxes, etc.
There are a lot of exchanges between the two sides of the border. French people can go to Germany to work in the industry, as this French region is very rural and agricultural. German and French love to buy food in the foreign supermarket, as there are different eating cultures (and price differences).