FRIDAY FUNNY: Going Dutch/Deutsch

Have you ever wanted to be two places at once? Well at the Eurode Business Center (EBC), you can actually be in two countries at once. I kid you not.

With more that 11,000 square feet of space, the EBC sits squarely on the Dutch-German border, despite the postal address of Herzogenrath, Germany. A metal strip down the middle of the building delineates one country from another, but the bureaucratic gulf is a bit broader, to say the least. And for the facility management team, it can be a great big headache in two languages.

Zoe Chace and Robert Smith from NPR’s Planet Money report:

On one side of the building, there’s a German mailbox and a German policeman. On the other side, a Dutch mailbox and a Dutch policeman.

The building was supposed to make it easy to work in both countries. But it’s also a reminder of how the European dream isn’t yet a reality.

The border is open enough that a single building can span it. No border guards, no checkpoints. But a letter sent from the German side of the building takes a week to get to the Dutch side.

But as MSN Now adds, “Why not just hand it to the person themselves? Because each country wants to collect as many taxes as possible.”

Chace and Smith continue:

A computer security company called Alunsa has offices on both sides of the building. On one side, Alunsa employees call German customers on German phones. On the other side, it’s all Dutch. Raimond Potgens, the company’s CEO, has two offices, one on either side of the border. He carries his laptop back and forth all day long.

In addition to Alunsa, about 65 companies from information technology, telecommunications, multimedia, and business services sectors currently have offices in the the EBC. The building also serves as a German-Dutch police service point. From the EBC website (translated via Google):

In this pilot project, international service and trading companies enjoy a location which benefits from two countries. The fact that two legal systems within a building come to fruition offers special opportunities to companies based there.

For instance, a company can easily rent office space in the other country and still manage the company from a single location, providing access both markets. In addition, aspects of the procurement markets (including skilled labor), funding programs, and logistics can also be considerations for organizations considering the EBC as a viable location for business.