Hotel de Tolkamer – lively border town on the Rhine
W21
Tolkamer
1711

Hotel de Tolkamer – lively border town on the Rhine

Hotel de Tolkamer – lively border town on the Rhine
Hotel de Tolkamer – lively border town on the Rhine
Hotel de Tolkamer – lively border town on the Rhine
Hotel de Tolkamer – lively border town on the Rhine
Hotel de Tolkamer – lively border town on the Rhine
Hotel de Tolkamer – lively border town on the Rhine
Hotel de Tolkamer – lively border town on the Rhine
Hotel de Tolkamer – lively border town on the Rhine

Many Dutch people were taught that the Rhine enters the Netherlands at Lobith – but it isn’t true! Because when the Rhine ran through Lobith, Lobith wasn’t part of the Netherlands. So what’s the story then? And what does it say about the village of Tolkamer?

Shifting borders
At the start of the 17th century, Lobith was on the Rhine. There was a tollhouse where ships’ skippers paid a toll. But the river was fickle and the Rhine was slowly changing its course. After a dike burst in 1711, the Rhine no longer ran past Lobith, but past a village 1 kilometre to the south, today known as Tolkamer. From that time on, a toll was paid in Tolkamer. But was Tolkamer really on the border? Sometimes it was, sometimes it wasn’t! The area around the fork of the Rhine and the Waal was of strategic importance and was often the source of conflict. In the 17th century it was alternately French, German, Spanish and Dutch. That’s why Tolkamer was sometimes on the border, but sometimes it wasn’t!

Meeting-place
Tolkamer acquired a tollhouse in the 17th century. It was often very busy. The toll collector stood on the quay and used a rod to fish the tax from the skippers. Later, the customs officials checked the ships’ holds for smuggled cigarettes, alcohol and even people. Then the passengers and crew went ashore in search of entertainment. They went shopping in the village and sought conviviality in the cafes. Tolkamer became a meeting place for European skippers and their families and at one point had as many as 13 pubs. Toll collection was very good for the local traders and merchants, but it sometimes led to problems with drunks.

Busy shipping lanes
Since the abolishment of Europe’s internal borders in 1993, skippers have sailed past Tolkamer without stopping. The customs office, built in 1905, has been converted into a hotel. Tourists and day-trippers provide liveliness on shore as they gather on the Europa Quay to watch the shipping traffic on the busiest waterway in Europe.

Hotel de Tolkamer – lively border town on the Rhine
Hotel de Tolkamer – lively border town on the Rhine
Hotel de Tolkamer – lively border town on the Rhine
Hotel de Tolkamer – lively border town on the Rhine
Hotel de Tolkamer – lively border town on the Rhine
Hotel de Tolkamer – lively border town on the Rhine
Hotel de Tolkamer – lively border town on the Rhine
Hotel de Tolkamer – lively border town on the Rhine
W21_Tolkamer - NL
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