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Visiting Oberbillig, Germany: its fortunes tied for centuries to its Mosel Valley neighbour Wasserbillig, in Luxembourg

Updated on February 2, 2016
Flag of Germany
Flag of Germany | Source
Vineyards, Oberbillig
Vineyards, Oberbillig | Source
The Mosel at Wasserbillig
The Mosel at Wasserbillig | Source
Map location of Oberbillg, in Konz municipal collectivity.
Map location of Oberbillg, in Konz municipal collectivity. | Source

Recalling historic roots and demonstrating geographical interdependence

The village of Oberbillig, noted for its vineyards, is situated in Germany's scenic Mosel Valley. In a sense, in the heart of Germany.

In fact, for centuries, its fortunes have been linked with a town in Luxembourg: Wasserbillig: a few metres away, across the Mosel River (French: Moselle ; Létzebuergesch: Musel ).

In a more religious age, it was significant that for centuries the inhabitants of Oberbillig were classified as parishioners of Wasserbillig's church, on the left Luxembourg bank of the river. Finally, in the 17th century a small chapel was built in Oberbillig, which may be seen today. In fact, Oberbillig did not actually become Prussian until the Congress of Vienna (German: Wiener Kongress ), in 1815.

One of the photos which I have supplied (above, right) shows Wasserbillig across the Mosel, taken from the right, German bank of the River at Oberbillig. Seen in the photo, to the left, is the ferry which plies its way across the River several times per hour, throughout much of the day.

Interestingly, after World War Two (during which Nazi German troops occupied neighbouring Luxembourg), forces from the Luxembourg military crossed the Mosel River and nearby Sauer River also, in order to occupy some areas of Germany for a number of years. There is a sense in which the psychological territoriality of the region reverted for a few years to the situation which had previously obtained for hundreds of years since Medieval times, when Luxembourg was a regional power.

Oberbillig is situated in the municipal collectivity of Konz, Rhineland Palatinate (German: Rheinland-Pfalz ), Germany. The ferry landing to Wasserbillig, Luxembourg, is located at the intersection of Moselstrasse and Leimbachstrasse .

October 11, 2012

Also worth seeing

Langsur (distance: approximately 1.5 kilometres via the Oberbillig-Wasserbillig ferry) is a picturesque, 1000-year old village, located on a meander in the Sauer River, three-quarters surrounded by Luxembourg territory. The Luxembourg town of Wasserbillig thus acts, via the ferry, as a physical link between Oberbillig and Langsur, both on German territory, but separated by the Mosel and Sauer Rivers which have their confluence nearby; when the ferry service is not running, however, this necessitates a long road trip.

Trier (distance: 15 kilometres) is an ancient city; its Porta Nigra dates from Roman times.


How to get there: Lufthansa flies to Frankfurt-am-Main, from where car hire is available. The nearest large international airport is Luxembourg (Aéroport de Luxembourg ), at Findel (distance from Luxembourg City to Oberbillig : 35 kilometrers; distance from Frankfurt-am-Main to Oberbillig : 214 kilometres). For North American travellers making the London, England area their touring base, airlines flying to Luxembourg include Luxair (from London Heathrow Airport and London City Airport) and CityJet (from London City Airport). Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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