A Trio of Tripoints

Wednesday, 12th August 2009 by

A tripoint is a geographical location where three borders meet – most notably those of different countries, but also (to a lesser extent) counties, states, provinces, etc. While many of the world’s 157 national tripoints are located in the middle of lakes, rivers, deserts or mountains, those that are in populated areas are often marked with monuments of some kind.

The Swiss city of Basel is home to one of the most spectacular tripoint monuments at the location where it borders Germany and France.


Basel’s dreiländereck (literally “3 lands place”) is home to a soaring metal three-sided spiral which bears the flags of the 3 countries. It is located on a quay in the river Rhine, near a restaurant of the same name. The actual tripoint is located just to the north-west, in the middle of the river.


Germany also has a significant tripoint where it meets Belgium and the Netherlands. Vaalserberg features a number of tourist attractions including a viewing tower, cafes and a maze.

Tripoint Tripoint

While Google Maps seems to show the tripoint in a tree, I believe the actual location is marked by the 3 small monuments visible by their shadows in the upper-left of this image.1


Not all tripoints are marked as cohesively. The one where Austria, Hungary and Slovakia meet has a number of monuments scattered across the different borders – all quite small, so check Panoramio to see them in detail.


Where is your favourite location with one foot in one country, one foot in a second, and … perhaps your nose in a third?

For more like this, see our 2008 post about Complicated Borders. Thanks to AndrewAnorak and David Grenewetzki.

  1. This location was formerly a quadripoint, with the tiny territory of Moresnet which existed until 1920. No official quadripoints currently exist – see Wikipedia for details of one that almost exists in the Zambezi river.