During our conversation with a German inhabitant of Nieuwstraat/Neustraße—the 84 year old Frau Meyer—we explained a little about our research, before she interrupted us by saying that the relationship between the people from Kerkrade and Herzogenrath is “super” but that at the moment they [the German inhabitants of the Nieuwstraat/Neustraße] were not allowed to cross the border into the Netherlands because of the corona pandemic. Not crossing the border, in this street however, also means, not crossing the street. She explained that she had a lot of relatives on the Dutch side of the border—who she was unfortunately not allowed to visit at the moment—and that her 89 year old pastor in the church just behind the Nieuwstraat/Neustraße on the German side, is also Dutch – “Ich muss Niederländisch sagen, ich kann nicht Niederländisch sagen.” And also during the war, she said a little later “war Jeder für Jeden da.” – they would throw coffee and everything across the fence. Then she continued to talk about the current situation in the street. About having to go into quarantine if she would cross the street and that she and her 87 year old husband would get vaccinated on the 8th of March. We realized that some of her relatives would get vaccinated at a different moment based on the Dutch vaccination policy. The Dutch government, she explained, was a little more forgiving with regards to allowing people who live close to the border to, for example, do groceries in the neighbouring country which caused to German supermarkets–where groceries are a bit cheaper than in the Netherlands–to be especially empty during the first weeks of the pandemic, stirring up some old sentiments: “Diese Holländer kommen jetzt alle hierher, um in Aldi einzukaufen. Hier ist es billiger. Ihr Wagen ist bis ganz nach oben voll. Wenn wir Deutschen kommen, ist alles leer.” She quickly adds that she also enjoys shopping in the Netherlands and that they get along very well around here. 

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