The death wire
The death wire was set up by order of the German occupying army. The function of the wire was to close off the kilometer-long national border. The German soldiers did not succeed in doing this hermetically, which allowed many people to cross the border: volunteers for the Belgian army, spies, deliverers of clandestine mail, resistance fighters, smugglers and refugees. All other attempts to close the border required large numbers of troops. The death wire offered the solution, which, of course, required far fewer German troops. From 24 July 1915, the wire was powered by two thousand volts and the border was completely barred.
The death wire helped the neutral Netherlands. The Netherlands was obliged to close and guard its borders. The death wire made this work easier.
Nearly three hundred victims were killed on the Limburg borders. Limburg was also the province with the longest section of the blockade: almost half of the total distance of 332 km.
Schalthäuser were built along the barrier. These were switchboxes which housed technical equipment and served as a guardroom for the border guards. Parts of these switchboxes can still be found.
You can see a replica of the Death Wire in the Leudal. This is a historically correct place, beautifully situated along tourist bicycle and walking routes. The site has a covered picnic area with informative panels: an ideal location as a break place during a walking or cycling tour. You can still find a passage gate, a sentry box, a warning sign and the tower section of a switch house, including knife switches.
Tip: Combine this with Grenswandeling 10.