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No Continental European is an island

Regulars | By Mary Kenny


Mary Kenny says borders mean so much less when you can travel effortlessly by land from one country to another

As I live on a natural frontier (by the English Channel) and as I grew up where the Irish border loomed large on our consciousness, borders and frontier places fascinate me. Basel in Switzerland is regarded as a rich and efficient intersection of frontiers, being effectively at the crossroads of three nations – Switzerland, France and Germany. And so I took a weekend trip to Basel last month. Yes, as you come out of Basel-Mulhouse airport, the exit door to the right says ‘Switzerland’, and the exit door to the left says ‘France and Germany’. I took the exit to France, as the French hotel prices are rather more reasonable than the Swiss ones. Although border peoples don’t always like one another very much – having seen their frontiers shift back and forth over the centuries, as Alsace-Lorraine has done – you can nonetheless see that in this hub of...


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