Büsingen am Hochrhein is a German town  entirely surrounded by the Swiss canton of Schaffhausen and south across the Rhine by the cantons of Zürich and Thurgau. It has a population of about 1,450 inhabitants.

Since the early 19th century the exclave has been separated from the rest of Germany by a narrow strip of land of about 700 m at its narrowest and contains the Swiss settlement of Dörflingen. Büsingen belongs to the district of Konstanz, in the Land of Baden-Württemberg. Economically, it forms part of the Swiss customs area. There are no border controls between Switzerland and Büsingen or the rest of Germany since Switzerland joined the Schengen zone in 2008/2009. Büsingen is regarded as a holiday destination in summer by both German and Swiss visitors from around the area for its recreational areas along the Rhine. The town is also the home of the European Nazarene College, a large (for the town) Bible college with an international focus.

 

History

Between 1694 and 1728, because of war and fights between Schaffausen and the Austrians, Büsingen become an exclave in Schaffausen territory. In the year 1835 Büsingen became part of German customs territory. In 1895, Switzerland agreed to enable the farmers of Büsingen to sell their products in Switzerland. This exchange of goods functioned even during the First World War - in both directions. In 1918 a referendum was held in Büsingen in which 96% of voters chose to become part of Switzerland. However, it never happened as Switzerland could not offer anything suitable in exchange, and consequently Büsingen has remained an exclave of Germany ever since.

The exclave of Büsingen was formally defined in 1967 through negotiations between West Germany and Switzerland. At the same time, the German exclave of Verenahof, consisting of just three homes and fewer than a dozen people, became part of Switzerland.

 

Specialities

There are no border controls between Switzerland and Büsingen or the rest of Germany since Switzerland joined the Schengen zone in 2008/2009. Büsingen is highly regarded as a holiday destination in summer by both German and Swiss visitors from around the area for its recreational areas along the Rhine.

The town is also the home of the European Nazarene College, a large (for the town) Bible college with an international focus.

Formally the euro is the only legal tender in Büsingen; however, the Swiss franc is also popular in everyday use. Owing to its unusual geographical lo

cation, it uses public services from both countries, including public transport, post and telephone services, which operate side by side. To send a letter to Büsingen, one can send it using either a Swiss postal code or a German one. Residents of Büsingen can be reached by telephone using either a German number (with the prefix +49 7734) or a Swiss one (with the prefix +41 52).

Germans who have been registered in Büsingen for more than 10 years are called Alt Büsinger (Old Büsingers) and receive a special recognised status similar to Swiss citizenship. All Büsingers are allowed to purchase real estate or work in Switzerland even if they don't possess Swiss citizenship.

In emergencies, both the Swiss or the German police may be called, with the Swiss, being closer, usually arriving faster. In the case of a search warrant both German and Swiss officials are required to be present.

After attending primary school in Büsingen, children may continue their education in either Switzerland or Germany. About 70% elect to go to school in Switzerland.

The local football team, FC Büsingen, is the only German team to play in the Swiss Football League.

Unlike the rest of Germany, the enclave was not part of the Schengen Zone. This changed when Switzerland fully implemented the Schengen Agreement on 12 December 2008.