Jungholz is one of those places which is on the list of every border enthusiast. It is a pene exclave which is commonly defined as part of the territory of one country that can be conveniently approached only through the territory of another country. In this case it is Austrian territory which can only be accessed from Germany via 2 access roads. In addition it is a quadripoint which makes it even more attractive.
In 1342 a resident in Tyrol bought the area from a Bavarian. The buyer had the area incorporated with his other possession of Tyrol. Germany and Austria agreed in 1844 that Jungholz would remain part of the Austrian Tyrol, but the German districts of Bavaria on the east and Oberallgau on the west would separate it from the rest of Austria. Technically however, Jungholz is connected to the rest of Austria at a single point. Sorgschrofen (1635m) is where the 4 borders (2 German and 2 Austrian meet). Quadripoints are very rare. In Europe there is one other example in Baarle-Hertog, details of my visit there are here.
Of course, because the borders meet at a single point it is not possible to move from Jungholz into Tirol without also moving through Germany as well. There was no time on this trip to hike to the top of the Sorgschrofen, sadly I was only able to gaze on the summit cross from the valley below. I had planned to visit in May 2021, but a global pandemic got in the way, perhaps 2022.
Meeting with a local border expert
One of the highlights of our visit was the opportunity to meet Max Tauscher, a local border expert who has written books on the exclave. It was fascinating discussing the realities of living in Jungholz. Jungholz was part of the German customs union prior to the common market and used German Marks rather than Austrian Schillings prior to the introduction of the Euro. Jungholz is small (7.12 km2) with only 308 inhabitants (2019). It has a volunteer fire brigade and an Elementary School but no Doctor’s surgery, Bank, Pharmacy, Secondary School or Police station. Inhabitants therefore have access these facilities elsewhere.
Access Points to the Exclave.
The first access road we explored was northern one leading to the 310 and on towards Wertach. The bridge crosses the Mulbach and there are regional and national signs as well as BM # IX which is noted on the Bayern Atlas map although it is located in Austria.
The second road we explored was the southern access point with a bridge across the Mertach. No border markers here but regional signs and the border delineated on the bridge. As we were exploring the crossing the cross border bus service (German company) drove into Jungholz.
The smaller of the 2 access roads still had plenty to interest the visiting border enthusiast.
Cross border tracks
Prior to breakfast we explored a rural track to the north of the exclave, indicated on the maps above between border markers #XIV and #XV. Although it was straightforward to identify the border by finding the Holderbach stream. The BM’s remained hidden in the dense undergrowth.
Date of Visit: 04/09/2020