Büsingen – A little piece of Germany in Switzerland

One of my favourite areas of geography are exclaves and enclaves. An enclave is any portion of a state that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state. An exclave is a portion of a state geographically separated from the main part by surrounding alien territory. Many enclaves are also exclaves.

One of the better-known examples of an enclave is Büsingen, which is a German enclave surrounded entirely by Switzerland, as shown on the following postcard:


The narrowest gap between Büsingen and the rest of Germany in the south-eastern corner of the exclave. The distance between the border of Büsingen and the border of the rest of Germany is only approximately 700 yards. The total population is approximately 1,500.

Here is a summary of how day-to-day matters work in Büsingen;

1. Currency – most of the townspeople use Swiss Francs

2. Police – the police of the neighbouring canton of Schaffhausen are allowed to apprehend citizens in Büsingen, and transport them to Switzerland. German police officers traveling to Büsingen must use designated routes, and refrain from all official acts while they are in Switzerland.

3. Education – a school up to the 4th grade operates in the exclave. After then parents may choose either a Swiss school or a German school for their children

4. Postal and telecommunications services – Büsingen had both Swiss and German postal codes

5. Car licence plates – despite being part of the German Konstanz (KN) district, Büsingen has its own licenc plate code (BUS)

6. Football – the local team, FC Büsingen, competes in the Swiss League.


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