Did you know that the Signal de Botrange is the highest point in Belgium?
Have people been kidding us about Belgium's true peak for all these years? Not at all! After all, the National Geographic Institute (NGI) went to investigate and has confirmed that the Signal de Botrange in the municipality of Waimes is indeed the highest point in Belgium.
In 2010, German calculations and Google Earth caused quite a commotion. They claimed that it was not the Signal de Botrange, at 694 m, that topped Belgium, but in fact the 701 m-high Weißer Stein in Mürringen, a village in the nearby municipality of Büllingen on the German border. The NGI was keen to get to the bottom of the matter and rejected the claim as nonsense following local research.
Nonetheless, Botrange has not always been the highest point in the country. In 1919, Germany ceded the East Cantons, covering 33,000 ha of forest, to Belgium as a consequence of the Treaty of Versailles to give compensation for damages caused in the First World War. Belgian territory was therefore extended by 1,050 km². But there is more. This new territory meant that the Signal de Botrange replaced what was formerly the highest point: the 674 m-high Baraque Michel. Then in 1923, with the construction of the Butte Baltia, a hill featuring an orientation table named after the General who governed the East Cantons between 1920 and 1925, our country artificially rose 700 metres above sea level. In 1934, a 24 m-high stone tower was added. With a lively lodge and information centre, this now forms the tourist attraction Botrange Nature Centre, at the edge of the Hautes Fagnes-Eifel Nature Park.
Here, through the mystical landscape, you can enjoy guided or unguided walks along the wooden walkways, go for a bike ride or book a horse-drawn carriage ride. There's no higher place in the country to enjoy nature!