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The Schnadegang , sometimes Schnadezug , Schnatgang , Schnadgang or hallway dealing, in Hesse also Grenzgang or limit transition and in the Burgenland Hottergang called, is in many communities, especially in Westphalia , Hesse, in Burgenland and in the Lower Saxon city of Osnabrück (see Schnatgang Osnabrück ) a revived old or centuries-old custom of crossing borders . "Schnade", also in Low German "Snat" or "Schnaot", is related to "Schneise" and means border . “Hotter” is derived from the Hungarian határ and also means border. A similar custom is in the north-west Switzerland known Banntag .


The tours can be traced back to disputes between the locations due to alleged or actual border shifts.

Forest aisles, streams, hedges or ditches used to be used as border markings. Up to the 17th century , specially planted trees were also used for marking, into which a cross was struck with an ax, then boundary stones ( hat stones ) were used. These are often made of a different material than the surrounding rocks, so that the boundary stones can be better distinguished from the natural stones.

In order to check the correctness of the municipal border, to cut the border markings free and to convey the knowledge of the course of the borders to the new citizens, an official border inspection took place at the beginning, which was then repeated every one or two years and in time it became a festival with some up to several 10,000 visitors, for example in Asbeck (Münsterland) , Bad Sassendorf , Biedenkopf , Brilon , Cappel , Buchenau (Lahn) , Geseke , Herdecke , Dorfwelver , Ense , Goßfelden , Arnsberg , Neheim-Hüsten (Arnsberg), Medebach , Meschede , Moritzberg (Hildesheim) , Salzkotten , Twiste , Warstein , Wetter , Wickede , Wollmar and most recently also in Dodenau . A Schnadegang from 1450 has been handed down in writing in Neuenrade in the Brandenburg district .

In many places the Schnadegang was and is used as an opportunity to “poaläsen” new citizens of the city. The "Poaläsende" is lifted by some Schnadgangers ("Schnadloipers") and held over a boundary stone. Then you let your backside ("Ääs") hit the stone ("Poal") several times. The aim is to make new residents aware of the location of the boundary stone in the long term. Poled community members are called " Poal citizens " ( long -established residents ). In some cities, fixed sayings or words are called out. The guest pays back for the admission into the community with a drink donation at the nearest resting place of the Schnadegang.


Prohibition in Prussia

After the introduction of the real estate tax cadastre, they were declared no longer necessary in an order issued by the Prussian Ministry of the Interior on July 6, 1817.

In the "Official Gazette of the Royal Government of Arnsberg" of February 3, 1841, Schnadegang was finally banned:

“The borderlines and snares that are still common in some places have recently given rise to several gross excesses. Since such moves are no longer of any use at the present time, because when the land is completely categorized, it is not easy to darken the boundaries, but if it does occur, these can be lifted by the authorities without the participation of the individual members of the community, so these have so far been the case for some Places that are still customary border trains, completely prohibited as a result of the provisions of the Royal Ministry of the Interior and the police, and all local authorities as well as the Royal District Councilors of our district are hereby instructed not to organize a border train that allows the inspection of a hunting, district or municipal border through the Members of the congregation or other people who are not interested in determining the boundaries have the purpose of granting permission. "

In many places in the Prussian state the custom of the Schnadezug was forgotten.


Schnadegang Brilon

The first Schnadegang took place in Brilon on June 24, 1388. Incidents during the Schnadegang of 1840 were used by the Prussian government to ban the Schnadegang. In 1848 the Schnadegang for the city of Brilon was permitted again by the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. By special grace.

Today the Schnadegang takes place every two years on the Schützenfest weekend. About a fifth of the city limits are crossed. Several thousand men each take part in the Schnadegang. The Brilon men return home from almost all parts of the world to take part in the Schnad. Women are only admitted to the camp site, where a hearty forest festival takes place.

The individual Schnadegang is always divided into three sections:

  • The traditional march from the market square with a hike to the breakfast area
  • Hike from the breakfast place to the campsite
  • Hike from the camp site with a march into the city and three times circling the "Kumps" on the market square


The oldest Schnadgang in Westphalia takes place in Geseke . Schnad trees are mentioned as early as 1326 among the Stockheim farmers. After a break for a few years due to a ban by the Prussian government (similar to Brilon), the Schnadgang was reintroduced in 1864 by the then mayor Frettlöh. Since 1925 the Verein für Heimatkunde Geseke eV has been organizing this event on behalf of the city of Geseke. Every year a quarter of the Geseker district boundary is crossed. In the last few years, depending on the weather, the number of participants has been between 250 and 400.

The Schnadgang has been carried out as follows for decades:

  • At 11 a.m. on the first Saturday in September, the mayor says goodbye to the participants at the Old Town Hall.
  • On the first Schnadstein the reigning king of the St. Sebastianus Schützenbruderschaft von 1412 eV will be poaled. As a Gesek citizen, he answers the question “wuste bölken?” (= Do you want to say something?) With “alles use!” (All ours!), While non-residents answer with “alles Geiseke!” (= Everything Geseke!).
  • The hunting horn blowers of the Hegering Geseke welcomed the Schnadgangers for their first rest.
  • After the second rest, the Schnadgangers march to the nearest former city gate, where they are greeted by flag delegations from the two Geseker rifle clubs, the city band and the drum corps and accompanied to the market square.


Schnatgangstein at the Hotel Walhalla in Osnabrück
Bad Iburger Schnautgangsstein on Dörenberg from 2002

In the Lower Saxony city of Osnabrück, the Heger Laischaft, which has been documented since 1560, organizes the Osnabrück Schnatgang every seven years . It became a traditional festival in the 19th century. To this day, the participants greet each other with “Olle use” (All ours). "Olle use" is also the name of a traditional pub at the Hegertor. The forests jointly managed by the citizens of the lay community were outside the city limits in front of the Hegertor.

A memorial stone was placed above a side entrance of the Hotel Walhalla in Osnabrück's old town, a half-timbered building in the style of an arable bourgeois house from 1690 in the immediate vicinity of the town hall, to commemorate the Schnatgang in 1934. It bears the inscription Küms du herrut ut duss durn / Un hates de Mäse Schlürn / then don't put it here un pee / sock di datou in another corner. Snautgang 1934 .

Bad Iburg

The Schnatgang tradition was revived in the Lower Saxon town of Bad Iburg south of Osnabrück. A memorial stone on the Karlsplatz of the Dörenberg with the inscription Schnautgang 2002 Bad Iburg commemorates the Schnatgang 2002 .

Hattingen / Ruhr

The last Schnadegang in Hattingen , which led around the Feldmark, has been handed down from 1806 . Only on April 13, 2014, the Heimatverein Hattingen / Ruhr and the Sauerland Mountain Association SGV / Department Hattingen start the first Hattinger Schnadegang of modern times, which allowed the Hattingen city limits to be explored in a total of five stages.


Every year in the East Westphalian village of Rothe , on the Christian holiday of Ascension , which is also celebrated as Father's Day , there is a gnat walk. The borders and boundary stones are visited and examined during a hike with numerous participants.


  • Ulrich Grun : The great "Brilonisch and Rudisch Holtzstreit" of 1569, in: Citizenship of the City of Brilon (Ed.): Briloner Schnadezug, Brilon 1980
  • Josef Lappe : The Schnadzug - an old Westphalian legal and popular custom. In: Heimatblätter der Rote Erde 4. (1925) pp. 452–467.
  • Karl Hartung: With old Mendenern on Schnadegang - spreading of the Gräntzen in Ambt Menden 1582. In: Contributions to the regional studies of the Hönnetal. Volume 19, Menden 1994.
  • Schnadgang protocol from June 30, 1740 in the Wolbeck office, State Archives Münster, Principality of Münster, Hofkammer, XVI2a.
  • Franz X. Simmerding, German Association for Surveying (DVW) Landesverein Bayern e. V. (Ed.): Grenzzeichen, Grenzsteinsetzer and Grenzfrevler. Chapter D.
  • Adolf Sellmann: Over the border, boundary stones and border offenses. In: General surveying news. 1931, p. 243 ff.
  • Stephan Thome: Crossing the border. Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2009. A novel that addresses the custom of crossing the border in a fictional community based on the example of the Hessian city of Biedenkopf; see. Andreas Rutz: Limits in Space - Limits in History. Problems and Perspectives. In: Eva Geulen , Stephan Kraft (Hrsg.): Limits in space - limits in literature. (= Journal for German Philology. Special Issue 129). Berlin 2010, pp. 7–32, here pp. 7–9.
  • H. Prefix: The limit in belief and custom. Allgemeine Vermessungs-Nachrichten 1929, p. 572 ff.
  • Leo Mauczik: Pimpfe and Poalbürger. Agenda-Verlag, Münster 2009, ISBN 389688400X .