Political limit

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State border Austria - Germany ( green border )
Border between the Netherlands and Belgium at a cafe in the village of Baarle . The place is divided by an extremely complicated borderline.
In the pavement an old boundary stone between the once separate cities Altona and Hamburg from 1896, which is still today in Brigittenstrasse, now in the Hamburg district of St. Pauli .
The state border at Rijksweg 7 in the Netherlands that has become largely insignificant due to EU treaties : German police car in front of the “Uit” sign set up on German territory. The border runs on the right boundary line of the motorway; the (Dutch? see the design of the sign) rest area is completely on German territory.
2015: Rotting sign, historical border: GDR - Czechoslovakia

A political border is the borderline between state territories ( state border , federal border , in Switzerland also national border ), partially sovereign member states and political-administrative administrative units .

International boundaries

By drawing borders between states , on the one hand, the territorial integrity of a state vis-à-vis its neighborhood is secured; on the other hand, it serves to precisely define the spatial scope of the state legal system . In border conflicts can lead to administrative disputes over border skirmishes through wars come. To avoid such conflicts, joint border commissions were often set up, and sometimes “neutral zones” were created as a peace buffer zone or as a closed customs border area. After territorial changes or in the event of territorial disputes, an intergovernmental border may be redefined through demarcation within the framework of international agreements.

State borders are drawn both on land and at sea ( 12-mile zone ) or through inland waters . If parts of the territory of a state are enclosed by other states, one speaks of exclaves or enclaves . The total length of all political borders worldwide is roughly 250,472 km.

Every land border has border crossings . However, the uncontrolled crossing of a state border at another point does not always constitute an administrative offense or a criminal offense . B. Within the Schengen area there are no longer any “smugglers' paths” (except in retained historical names), as there is hardly any possibility of “ smuggling ” goods across internal borders in the EU within the European internal market (exception: differing national provisions on the legality of the Possession of certain objects and substances).

Domestic boundaries

In the sense of “political-administrative boundaries”, the scope of the term also includes the drawing of boundaries between national administrative units . Such internal dividing lines do not only include state borders, but also borders between smaller administrative areas. For example, cadastral communities or districts in Austria do not form independent regional authorities, but are mere administrative structures. In general, national borders also fall with the property boundaries of private or public property together, although there are exceptions.


  • The Canada-United States border is a total of 8,891 km, the longest common border between two states.
  • The People's Republic of China has 22,457 kilometers of the total length of the longest land border of all countries in the world. At the same time, China with 16 neighboring countries (including Hong Kong and Macau ) is the country with most of the directly neighboring countries.
  • The shortest border between two states is the one between the Vatican and Italy with a length of 4.07 km .
  • The shortest national border of any country in the world is 1.53 km long between Spain and Gibraltar .
  • A special case of a political border arises from the Eurotunnel between France and the United Kingdom , which formally forms a "dry" border line between the two countries, just 20 meters wide.

Borders with special designations

Because of their formation, borders were given nicknames that are often only known or used regionally. The border drawn between Austria and Italy in 1919 through Tyrol at the Brenner Pass is often referred to as the “Brenner border”.

See also

Web links

Commons : International Political Boundaries  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. Borders etc .: Oder-Neisse border + European Union + Demilitarized Zone + Neutral Zone (Iraq) + West Bank border ( Memento from November 5, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 2.1 MB).
  2. See four days in November. Verlag Gruner + Jahr, ISBN 3-570-00876-2 , p. 14.
  3. World at a glance> World boundaries .
  4. Examples: German federal states borders + administrative division of Germany + administrative division of Austria .
  5. Guinness Book of Records. Guinness Verlag, Hamburg 1998, ISBN 3-89681-001-4 , p. 108.
  6. Guinness Book of Records. Guinness Verlag, Hamburg 1998, ISBN 3-89681-001-4 , p. 108.