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Museum of Customs & Frontiers
Le Musée de la Douane - Helstrud

French customs post in this quiet border village in the hills.

(above) The frontier with Belgium. (left) This is attractive country for walks.

Beware smugglers
On the French-Belgian border, there's a little museum to the men who guard the frontiers and collect taxes - Customs officers. In fact, borders created livelihoods for smugglers as well.

Before the Common Market, French taxes on tobacco, alcohol and coffee were higher than those in Belgium. Smuggling was lucrative, and fraudsters could be crafty in disguising their contraband, and desperate and violent if challenged. In the slump of the 'thirties, many unemployed turned to this way of making money. Cars made it easier, and after the war, it became almost a hobby....

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Background information
Today's Flanders

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Location: Le Musée de la Douane, HELSTRUD
Take D 936 and D 80 from Maubeuge [20km]
Information/ reservations:
Tel: 00 33 3 27 - 61 75 44 or - 39 33 64




Eco-musée © Copyright 2000 Invicta Media. Last updated 1st April 2000