The International Border Research Group is an organisation of border enthusiasts, experts and academics who organise and support research into international borders, tripoints, border markers and other border related features. The group arranges international visits to international borders annually and members share the outcomes of their individual or smaller group visits. The group acts as a resource pool in supporting members in their expeditions. Members of the group have visited borders and tripoints in most continents. Initial members came mainly from Scandinavia, however the membership is now increasingly global.
The current President is Steen Schelde, a Danish border enthusiast who has travelled widely pursuing his interest in enclaves, border crossings and tripoints. The more recent group visits are highlighted in the links on this page.
|Barry Arnold||UK||Barry has been a member of IBRG since 2018 and has participated in 2 official expeditions and more informal IBRG visits too. His interest in land borders emerged as he travelled around Europe as teenager and studying Geography at school. He is the author of barrysborderpoints.com and has visited 21 tripoints to date. In addition to tripoint visits he is interested in all aspects of borders, geographical, social, cultural and legal. He has visited enclaves, divided villages and roads. Most recently he focused on tripoints in the Balkans bagging some rarely visited points He became the Vice President of the IBRG in 2023. He has spent his life in the Education sector, initially teaching in secondary education and being a Deputy Headteacher prior to becoming a Teacher Educator at the Institute of Education, UCL. He is looking forward to retirement and having more time for his family and border visits.|
|Frode Berg||NO||Frode has been a member of IBRG since 2008. He worked for the Norwegian border service for most of his professional career. Since 1990, he worked as a Border Inspector for Norway’s Border Commissioner for the Norwegian-Russian national border for 26 years. An exciting journey in close cooperation with the FSB border service in Russia. He was arrested in Moscow in December 2017 and charged with espionage for the benefit of Norway and NATO and sentenced to 14 years in prison in Russia. After two years in Leforto prison in Moscow, Frode was pardoned by President Putin, exchanged with a Russian FSB-officer, and sent home in November 2019. Today he enjoys life as a pensioner but still has national borders as his hobby. Both Jesper Nielson and Peter Hering visited the Norwegian-Russian border in the mid-2000s, it was that visit that encouraged Frode to join IBRG. His first expedition was in 2007 and he has been only many trips since. Frode is an expert on Russian border relations. He looks forward to participating in this forum more often in the future together with all other border experts. He was President of the IBRG between 2008-2012.|
|Bill Burke||UK||Bill became an Associate member of IBRG in April 2023. From an early age Bill developed an interest in Geography. His career as an accountant in local government specialising in European funding led him to working in the voluntary sector for a European funding charity where he visited Brussels and the surrounding area. He became interested initially in linguistic borders and then physical ones. His focus is on European borders and where borders transect towns and roads. As a graduate in Economics and History he was interested in border formation and how they relate to linguistic borders, for example Tende in France which up to 1947 was Italian. He is fascinated by Baarle and survived taking his non border enthusiast wife on an extended trip of the various enclaves! His other hobbies are Cricket, squash, running and cycling. He as an Englishman of course enjoys a good beer.|
|Jannis Deeleman||NL||Jannis has been interested in borders since 2000. He grew up near the NL-BE border. Jannis specialises in visiting hard-to-visit borders and hard-to-find border markers which requires diplomacy and perseverance in many ways. He feels most comfortable at the borders in Eastern Europe and off the beaten track. Owner and author of the website www.ontheborder.eu . Focussed on following a whole border and picturing all the border markers.|
His credo: “Most people follow roads and sometimes they are confronted with crossing a border. I follow borders and sometimes I’m confronted with crossing a road”. Jannis studied geography and specialised in the development of the infrastructure near borders and in social development in border areas. He has worked in the international railway business for over 30 years. His first IBRG expedition was in 2018.
|Piet van der Giessen||NL||Piet became an Associate member of IBRG in April 2023. Piet has always been interested in borders and border markers, a member of the Grenspalengroep Nederland he has focused on the markers on the BE/NL border, having visited, recorded and photographed 75% of them. His reports are available at Grenspalen One. Recently he began exploring border markers in Boston and on the US/Canada border. Piet is the managing director of a Dutch company that provides audio, light and vision solutions. He is also working on developing border mapping software. At home he enjoys cooking.|
|Peter Hering||AT||Peter was one of the founder members of IBRG and its first President from 2003 -2008. Peter was born in 1944, in the closing years of WW 2. He grew up in Vienna, 60 km from the Austro-Hungarian border. In spite of being a mere child at the time of the Hungarian uprising against the Soviet Union in the autumn of 1956, Peter clearly remembers what a pronounced effect the “border” phenomenon had on him, watching news from the border…a man-made line which symbolized the difference between freedom and oppression, sometimes life and death…|
Some years later, while living in Graz, Peter travelled extensively by moped in the surrounding area, thus visiting his very first tripoint in a remote area, the place where Austria, Hungary and Yugoslavia (now Slovenia) meet.
Over the years, his interest in borders and tripoints has both grown as well as becoming more concentrated. To date, he is the proud holder of the world record in tripoints visited: 48, including historical ones. Some of the most interesting spots were the beautiful South American tripoint near the Iguacu Falls, where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet…and the world’s eastern-most tripoint, China-Russia-North Korea near Vladivostok AND, last but not least the crossing on the Zambezi river in Africa, between Botswana and Zambia, being very close to TWO tripoints (but not a Quadripoint) that are only 170 metres apart…
Beside travelling (123 countries so far) and borders Peter is an opera – and football lover… Peter’s border pictures are here
|Mike Kaufman||USA||Mike has been a member of IBRG since 2002 and has actively participated in five official border expeditions with the group. He became famous amongst group members for making sketches of border crossings, markers, and vistas in his scrapbook while in the field. He is interested in the edges and intersections of history, geography, language, architecture, and culture that emerge in border regions, identifying how inhabitants address challenges and embrace opportunities. He has had broad geopolitical interest his entire life: at the age of two, he could identify every nation in the world by its flag. By four, he would officially announce internal borders each time the family car crossed from the state of Massachusetts (his home state) into neighboring New Hampshire. At nine, he visited his first divided street (Canusa Street between Canada and the United States) on a family trip. With IBRG, Mike has visited 27 international tripoints, one bi-national quadripoint, enclaves, autonomous regions, and disputed territories. He now lives in Alexandria, Virginia, and visits state, county, and municipal boundaries as often as possible, including the current and former markers of the District of Columbia. Mike has dedicated his professional career to public service.|
|Dr. Ann Kennard||UK||Ann Kennard was Principal Lecturer in German and European Studies, now Visiting Research Fellow at the University of the West of England, Bristol, UK. Ann has published many articles and conference reports on international boundary issues. Her most important and comprehensive was a book: ‘Old Cultures, new Institutions around the new Eastern border of the European Union’ (European Studies in Culture and Policy, 2010). Her interests lie mainly in Eastern Europe.|
Ann has been a member of IBRG since 2002 when she first joined the group to go from Vienna through Hungary to Ukraine, Romania, Croatia, and later further through the Balkans to Turkey and back through Albania, Croatia and Slovenia. She has been on every trip with the main group since, including the Baltic States, Ukraine and parts of Western Europe. She also made visits, with funding from the British Academy, to Poland, Ukraine and Kaliningrad in order to interview border officials in the research for the above-mentioned book. IBRG has been fundamental to her academic research into cross-border cooperation. More recently she has concentrated more on the city partnership link Bristol-Hannover Council, of which she is Chair.
|Jan S Krogh||NO||Jan’s interest in geography was awakened early in his childhood. In early adulthood, he had to cross two or four borderlines to visit his parents, and his interest in border markers emerged. During his service in the Norwegian Air Force, he worked in an observation room at a radar station near the Soviet border guarding Norwegian airspace. During his UN service in South Lebanon, he protected the Blueline, the border of the UN force, at both checkpoints and observation posts. After moving to Lithuania, he became aware that the country at the time had an enclave surrounded by Belarus and visited the enclave as soon as he had the opportunity. In 2003 he participated in his first IBRG expedition, and was President between 2012 to 2023.|
Jan’s primary interest is historical changes and the development of national borders, such as demarcation and border guard service. Part of the results of his many field trips worldwide has resulted in reports on his private website Geosites, including a detailed description of the border crossings on the Latvian-Lithuanian border.
As an adult, he took a bachelor’s degree in geography and a master’s degree in social science with a major in geography. The theme of the master’s thesis was the Jewish emigration from Lithuania to Norway before the First World War. Daily, he is the general manager of a consulting firm in Vilnius.
|Bruno Lässer||AT||Bruno became an associate member of IBRG in April 2023. Bruno as an Austrian was used to borders, initially the peaceful ones around Lake Constance between Germany, Switzerland or Liechtenstein and later whilst studying in Vienna, the Iron Curtain borders between Hungary and Czechoslovakia. His career in Finance and Controlling, provided opportunities to travel widely further fuelling his passion in borders. In the 2000’s Bruno resumed his passion for photography. In 2016 he began to photograph the 9 Austrian Tripoints. This developed into photographing each border marker on the 2700 km border using professional Hasselblad medium format equipment, both digital and film. By early 2023, ca. 900 km have been done, including the entire border with the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Hungary will be completed soon, next is Slovenia. His biggest challenge still awaits the Austrian border with Italy and Germany with its alpine heights of between 2000m and 3000m. His photographs are at www.brunolaesser.at|
|Rich Morris||UK||Rich became an associate member of IBRG in April 2023. Rich took an interest in all things border from a young age, fascinated by borders, maps and the cultural diversity and adversity they create. He finds borders particularly interesting being half Welsh, half Scottish and brought up in England on a ‘big island, where borders are more subtle than elsewhere and the unique identities that these create within families and communities.|
He has a particular interest in the borders, present and historic of France and Germany, currently researching the old historical border crossing point of ‘Brême d’Or/Goldenne Bremm’ and plans on a boundary marker finding trip in the next 12 months. Rich plans to study more interesting historical borders in Europe and particularly enjoys ‘finding the bits others can’t see’ and exploring their linguistic and cultural consequences.
He also enjoys studying the internal political borders of the UK at all layers of government and currently works as a Policy Officer for his local city council.
|Doug Murray||CAN||Doug was a founding member of IBRG and has participated in 6 large expeditions. He is a travel writer and content producer based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Doug has been interested in international boundaries since he was a wee lad, His first crossing was CAUS (Manitoba-North Dakota). Since that time, he has been able to visit many of Europe’s tripoints, interesting spots in North America like Point Roberts and the Northwest Angle and, his favourite, Baarle-Hertog/Baarle-Nassau (BENL) twice! He has lived in Ghana, Ireland, Scotland, Mexico and Guatemala and have visited 53 countries… so far!|
|Jesper Nielsen||DK||Jesper got interested in borders during childhood trips to the Danish-German border. Later a trip to Cyprus made him even more curious. Meeting border enthusiast Peter Hering was the beginning of IBRG, and they explored the Danish-German border together before the first big expedition in 2001 .|
Jesper has participated in most IBRG expeditions, being one of the veterans and has independently done further trips to rarely visited tripoints in Africa. Jesper works for the University of Copenhagen.
|Hans Peter Nissen||DK|
|Barış ÖZTÜRK||TR||Baris became an associate member of IBRG in April 2023. Barış is a Turkish citizen with Georgian descent. In his childhood his home town Artvin was a border city with Soviet Union, nowadays it borders Georgia. This border between NATO and the Soviet Union divided families for 50 years (1928-88), this made him very enthusiastic about border issues. As a Mechanical Engineer Baris has travelled to more than 20 countries and makes every opportunity to visit the local borders. He felt that the UK BORDER signage at Heathrow Airport was a peculiar experience. 😊. Although Turkey is a middle sized country, it has border lines with 8 different countries. However, Barış’s main interest is former Turkey-USSR border, today’s Turkey – Georgia, Armenia, Nakhchivan (AZ enclave) border line. The documentation of this border line is his future project, inspired by Eef Berns’s huge work “The bordermarkers of the Pyrenees”.|
|Rolf Palmberg||FI||Rolf was one of the founder members of the IBRG. He has participated in 8 expeditions and has visited many tripoints and other border points, her has a particular interest in enclaves and exclaves. Editor of the book Gränsfeber (2009) and Tripoint spotting, Enclaves of the World and Borders Borders Borders|
|Steen Schelde||DK||Steen has been a member since 2005. Has participated in several international IBRG tours. Steen grew up in the borderland between Danish and German, through which he got his interest in borders and especially the cultural differences a geographical man-made line has on the surrounding country. Main interest is in German historical geography from the Middle Ages to the present with German colonization in the Baltics, Balkans and Eastern Europe.|
|Peter Tagesen||DK||Peter is very interested in a border that no longer exists! Born in Nordslesvig, the Danish-German relationship was in the blood from birth (1965). An obsession began to find and write about all 128 border stones from the 1864-1920 border between Denmark and Prussia/Germany. In 2020 he took part in a trip to the then closed DE/DK border – an unreal experience. His first IBRG expedition was the DEDK21. In 2023, Peter came into possession of 2 discarded boundary stones, which he placed in front of his house. All members of IBRG have an open invitation to see the 2 boundary stones.”|
|Harry ten Veen||NL||Harry is the editor of BorderLand which is a rich resource for border enthusiasts with many photos and reports. Organizer of numerous expeditions in the BeNeLux and participant in four IBRG expeditions. Previous role as System Coordinator at Rabobank NL now retired.|
|Hugh Wallis||CAN||Hugh has always been fascinated by things geographical, in particular borders and related aspects such as tripoints, enclaves, exclaves and so on. For a number of years he was very fortunate to travel widely on business and so was able to visit many borders, and in particular tripoints. Most of these visits were solo but he did have one opportunity to join with other IBRG members when visiting the borders and tripoints around Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Poland and Russia (Kaliningrad). Now retied and domiciled in Canada his border visiting opportunities are much fewer but he is an avid follower of all border hunting reports from all sources. His border blog is here.|
|Dr Brendan Whyte||AUS||Brendan is an Associate Member of IBRG from its early days. Brendan is an historical geographer, and former Assistant Curator of Maps at the National Library of Australia. He has published a number of journal articles and book chapters on border conflicts, and historical boundary surveys and mapping, and also several books on enclaves: “Waiting for the esquimo: an historical and documentary study of the Cooch Behar enclaves of India and Bangladesh” (SAGES, 2004), “En territoire belge et à quarante centimètres de la frontière”: an historical and documentary study of the Belgian and Dutch enclaves of Baarle-Hertog and Baarle-Nassau” (SAGES, 2004), and an edited translation of Lt. Paul Goldschmidt’s WWI memoir of the Baarle-Hertog enclaves: “Listening to Ludendorff: a clandestine Belgian military wireless station behind German lines 1915-1919” (Reveille Press, 2013).|
|2001||The Danish-German Border Expedition 2001||Report||PH, JN||This was the first IBRG expedition with a trip to points of interest (POI) on the DE/DK border. Many informal trips to this border followed.|
|6-16 September 2001||The Great Central European Border Expedition (GCEBE)||Video||FC, PH, DM, JN, JP, RP, HtV||The very first border IBRG worldwide expedition which started and ended in Copenhagen. Its aim was to visit 11 central European tripoints in 10 days. A fast-paced trip with a special significance in being the first. The trip was carried out “clockwise”, visiting the Eastern tripoints first, starting with CZDEPL and ending at BEDENL near Aachen. It was exciting, dynamic and positive throughout. It acted as a template for future trips.|
Logistically there were no problems at the borders. There was quite a lot of public attention with the group being met with curiosity, the participants were also interviewed a couple of times by local newspapers. In those early days, pre the introduction of the Euro there were all those local currencies to cope with.
World events caught up with the group and impacted on the 2 US participants from New York State as news of 9/11 reached them as they crossed the Liechtenstein/Swiss border.
|1-8 July 2002||The Great Eastern European Border Expedition (GEEBE)||Photos||PH, MK, AK, DM, JN, RP, HtV||This trip involved crossing approximately 25 official borders, and covered 8 Eastern European tripoints as well as visiting border areas in Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary.|
|9-21 July 2003||The Great Baltic Border Expedition (GBBE).||Photos|
|PH, MK, AK, JSK, DM, JN, HPN, RP, HtV||Border areas of the Baltic countries of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Russia. After the main expedition had ended some of the participants also visited the Swedish and Norwegian boundary.|
|8-21 May 2005||The Great South Eastern European Border Expedition (GSEEBE)||BGGRTR|
|PH, MK, AK, DM, JN, HPN, RP, HtV||This trip focused on 14 countries, mainly in the Balkans|
|13-15 Sep 2007||The Great Ghana Border Expedition (GGBE).||Photos||DM, JN|
|May 2008||The Great Black Sea Border Expedition (GBSBE)||Photos|
|FB, PH, MK, AK, DM, JN, RP|
|28 April – 1 May 2011||The Small Kaliningrad Expedition (SKE).||Report||JSK, HPN||The aim was to attempt to visit 1) an existing border crossing, namely Sovetsk (RU) – Panmune (LT), 2) the Russian side of a former border crossing between Lithuania and Russia, and 3)|
a former German road which is now divided by the Russian-Polish border, also from the Russian side. The former Lithuanian-Russian border crossing was only for residents of the Russian town Vištytis, which in 2011 had only one Lithuanian resident in a house that had previously been an integral part of Lithuanian town Vištytis despite being on the Russian side of the border. Members were not allowed to visit the Polish-Russian border.
|27 Aug-13 Sep 2011||The Great East Asia Expedition (Søsex 2011)||PH, JSK, HPN, RP||A trip focusing on the border areas between China, North Korea and Russia (CNKPRU), the Joint Security Area between North and South Korea, Beijing and Tibet|
|27-29 Apr 2012||The Euroregion Neisse-Nisa-Nysa Border Expedition (ENBE).||PH, JSK, JN, HPN, SS|
|19-21 Apr 2013||The Switzerland Expedition (CHEX13)||Programme||PH, JSK, AK, HPN RP|
|Aug 2016||The Andorra Expedition (ADEX16).||PH, JSK, JN, HPN, LN, RP||This expedition focused on the small country of Andorra, visiting the eastern tripoint with France and Spain, border towns and crossings as well as a pene -enclave and border POI’s.|
|27-29 April 2018||Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg, Germany and France (BELEX18)||BELEX18||BA, AK, JSK. HPN, JD||This expedition started and finished in Brussels. The route maximised the opportunities to visit both rural and coastal border crossings, tripoints and to view border markers both on historic and contemporary borders. Visiting towns and driving on roads divided by borders also featured as did a visit to the Vennbahn exclaves at Roetgen and Entenpfuhl. We also took the opportunity of visiting the most western point in Germany too.|
|3-7 September 2020||A three country border visit: Austria, Italy and Switzerland (AT20)||AT20||BA, PH, SS||This expedition started and finished in Munich. The route maximised the opportunities to visit Enclaves, secondary tripoints, border crossings (road and rail) and to view border markers, some relatively new and some old. The trip was a fast moving 5 day trip visiting 3 countries, an enclave, crossing many borders and undertaking day hikes to get to more remote border areas.|
|24-26 September |
|A 2 country border visit, visiting POI’s on the historical and current borders between Denmark and Germany (DEDK21)||DEDK21||BA, JSK, JN, UG, PT, SS, HPN, LN, SB||This expedition started and finished in Copenhagen, it was a fast moving trip that the explored the historical and current borders between Denmark and Germany visiting the eastern and westernmost points and several places in between. The trip took place when COVID restrictions were still in place and therefore interaction between group members and border officials occurred on each day.|
|1-7 November 2022||An enclave focused expedition focusing on the westernmost Spanish territories in North Africa and finishing in Gibraltar.||SPEGEX-22||BA, SS||This expedition started in Tangier, Morocco and finished in Gibraltar. Visiting the Spanish islands and enclaves of Isla Perejil, Ceuta, Peroñ de la Gomera, Isla de Tierra, Isla de Mar and Peñoón de Alhucemas. After taking the ferry from Tangier to Tarifa there was enough time for a 2 day exploration of the ES/GIB border and crossing points. |
There is a Facebook Borders group where many discussions regarding international, and sub national borders occur. It is open to all who share the hobby of visiting borders and sharing ideas and information. Please click on the icon to link to the group.
The IBRG welcomes new members. Membership is by invitation, supported by 2 existing members. In order to join the group border enthusiasts can indicate their hobby in a number of ways:
- Visiting borders, tripoints, enclaves etc.
- Engagement with the Facebook Borders page through reports and photos
- Legacy membership of the old discussion forums e.g. Borderpoint.
- Being an owner of a border related website
- Writing academic articles or travelogue articles
- Having a professional job in a border related sphere e.g. border service, customs
There are 2 forms of membership Associate Membership for those who meet some of the criteria above and are approved by 2 existing members. Please either leave a comment below or make an enquiry via the Facebook group. Full Membership is for those who meet the above criteria plus have attended a IBRG expedition. There is no fee to join, as it very much a group that wants to bring together people who share an interest in borders and associated topics.
|Peter Hering||Austria||2003 – 2008|
|Frode Berg||Norway||2008 – 2012|
|Jan S. Krogh||Norway||2012 – 2023|
|Steen Schelde||Denmark||2023- date|
|Barry Arnold||UK||2023 – date|