Le Raison d’Être for Border Regions
There are cases in which the border on the map is emphasized for political gain. However, this is less the case within the context of border regions. So, to say, for people from a border regions, the borders in that region are generally accessible and easy to cross. Without legal restrictions for goods and people, the only purpose that multiple abandoned customs posts have is to recall an earlier era in which going to another country caused some ‘ID-stress’. Therefore, the border is often simplified and there is a constant urge to eliminate, minimize or ‘erase’ it. ITEM describes borders as “obstacles that, once removed, can contribute to economic prosperity.” 1Link to the website of ITEM, accessed February 8, 2019, https://itemcrossborderportal.maastrichtuniversity.nl
The Euregio Meuse-Rhine for example states on its website that its goal is “to enable people and visitors in the region, regardless of borders, to improve their quality of life through information, communication and cooperation in the five partner regions.” 2Link to the website of the Euregion Meuse-Rhine, accessed December 13, 2018, https://www.interregemr.eu However, the role of the border stays essential and as the specific quality of life in border regions is the ability to cross borders as part of daily life. In this project, we asked what the quality of life in border regions actually is. And second, how to then represent this border life on maps. For example, in the Euregio Meuse-Rhine the Belgian hills are part of the daily environment of the Dutchmen and both Belgians and Germans visit Maastricht for Sunday fun shopping. The extraordinary of the borders is in the ordinary daily life of border crossers. Borders have the ability of challenging standers and making what we are used to strange again. 3Ben Highmore, Everyday Life and Cultural Theory: An Introduction, 1-5
All the above leads to the question: How to elaborate the current representations of border regions on maps, of mostly hard black lines on (almost) white surfaces, to do justice to the everyday life in these regions? Endorsing the importance to map the multi-facetted character of the border to be able to work with the full complexity of such a specific and rich region.
 Link to the website of ITEM, accessed February 8, 2019, https://itemcrossborderportal.maastrichtuniversity.nl
 Link to the website of the Euregion Meuse-Rhine, accessed December 13, 2018, https://www.interregemr.eu
 Ben Highmore, Everyday Life and Cultural Theory: An Introduction, 1-5