Image from Wikipedia: Copyright(C) Ziegelbrenner.

A miscalculation on the part of the allies at the end of the 1st World War led to a curious anomaly - Freistaat-Flaschenhals - on the eastern bank of the Rhine, right in the middle of the Rhine River Valley.

After the war, the victorious allies in addition to occupying the western bank of the Rhine, also established 'bridgeheads' on the eastern bank.

The American bridgehead was centered at the bridge crossing at Koblenz and had a radius of 30 kilometers. The French bridgehead was centered at the bridge crossing at Mainz and also had a radius of 30 kilometers.

The allies had failed to see that as the areas of control did not overlap but left a small area, in the shape of a bottle neck (Flaschenhals) outside of their control and joined to the rest of Germany by a narrow corridor.This, with a little imagination, resembled a bottleneck.

The citizens of Lorch and Kaub led by the mayor of Lorch, declared this area to be the Freistaat-Flaschenhals (Free State Bottleneck).

Many of the citizens of this self declared state owned vineyards as well as their own distilleries. The wine and schnapps were used to trade with farmers in the occupied areas. Barges moored at Lorch were also relieved of their cargoes of flour,grain and salt that were then smuggled into Germany proper to help those most in need.

The French tried in vain with searchlights on the opposite side of the Rhine to catch the smugglers at work. Finally they had had enough of it and occupied this tiny state in 1923.

This ended the short history of this anomalous little state , for when the French withdrew in 1924, the Freistaat was integrated into the rest of Germany.


An interesting curiosity remaining from this period are the notes that were then printed as Notgeld (Emergency Money ).

Here you can see two 50 Pfennig notes , a 40 Pfennig note and a 25 Pfennig note.

Most of the notes have an issue date and the German text says that they are only valid for up to four weeks after this date.

Go from Freistaat-Flaschenhals to "Odds and Sodds".

Go from Freistaat Flaschenhals to Rhine Valley Vacations.