The occupation of the Wahner Heide through the Belgian armed forces




17čme Brigade blindée (Panzerbrigade)1)


In anticipation of the "Convention on relations between the Three Powers and the Federal Republic of Germany" (Paris, October 23, 1954) the area of the former training area was confiscated with military order from 3/17/1951 by the Belgian armed forces with effect from the 1st of April, 1951.

       The red colour indicates the Belgian military area2)  

The place had been assigned to the Belgian troops for their training. Large parts of the Wahner Heide were closed for public.





      Satellite view: barrack "Camp Altenrath" ca. 20062)


Two new barracks were established in the moor area for the Belgian military. Other barracks were established (Brasseur barracks) to the North of Porz.



Barracks "Camp Altenrath": "Camp Major Legrand"3)



Barracks "Camp Spich": "Camp Roi Baudouin" 3)


At times the whole Belgian ground army and large parts of the air force were stationed in Germany.  

This led to the fact that not only soldiers, but also their families had to be accommodated in the area around the training area Wahner Heide. While single soldiers lived in the barracks, higher ranked soldiers with families got living space in the county Rhein-Berg or Rhein-Sieg. A central accommodation at a place would not have been possible for spatial reasons.

The following cities / parts of ones and municipalities had Belgian inhabitants from 1951 to 2004:

• Bensberg
• Bergisch Gladbach
• Porz
• Rösrath
• Siegburg
• Spich (Troisdorf)
• Troisdorf

The Belgians built up their own educational institutions: 

• a school in Siegburg
• Athénée Royal in Rösrath (today: House Venauen)

From 1950 a Belgian boarding school and high school (in French: Athénée royal) was accommodated on the property of the former region school of the Nazi welfare. While the boys had her cubicles in Venauen, the girls were accommodated in the castle Eulenbroich next to the the school. Till 1963 the Atheneum was managed by an in French speaking prefect. The quarrel about the languages between Fleming and Walloon also had effects on the Rösrather Atheneum. In 1963 the Flemings demanded on a separate Dutch-speaking section. Then till 1966 the Flemish part was completely evacuated to the castle Bensberg.

  On the homepage former students of the Athénée Royal in Rösrath give information 



Athénée Royal4



House Venauen3)


In most municipalities the Belgians had their own supermarkets; there was a "central canteen", too (CMC/MHK).



  Central canteen1)   CMC/MHK1)  


There were own radio and TV stations which supplied the armed forces and their members with the programmes from Belgium.

The television programs were transmitted in French (RTBF) and Flemish (BRTN). They were not specifically produced for the Belgian armed forces and their families.

• the broadcasting tower in the Scherbüchel
  in Rösrath                                        
• the broadcasting tower on the area of
  "Camp Spich"                                   





1)  Pictures from "Lost Sites" with the permission Christoph

2)  Pictures from "Google Maps"

3)  Pictures from © Jochen Hindrichs, 2009

4)  Picture: Archiv des BGV Rhein-Berg.

5)  Informations about the history of "House Venauen":
     Wikipedia, Artikel "Haus Venauen", Picture:
     License: GFDL, cc-by-sa-2.5,2.0,1.0