World Borders: How to Get to the Kingdom of Romkerhall (Konigreich Romkerhall) from Germany

World Borders: How to Get to the Kingdom of Romkerhall (Konigreich Romkerhall) from Germany

The Kingdom of Romkerhall, in German Konigreich Romkerhall is a micronation and breakaway country housed within the borders of Germany. The Kingdom claims to be the “World’s Smallest Kingdom”. On my ongoing tours to crazy republics and wacaday nations, this one had to be on my list. Just before my trip here, I had visited the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, written about 40 disputed countries I backpacked and outlined by crazy quest to visit 200 real countries by the age of 40. The Republic of Malta was 155, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta was 156, making the Kingdom of Romkerhall number 157 on my list. 43 to go if God spares me. I was really looking forward to this one, and combined it nicely with a trip to watch Northern Ireland play Switzerland in Basel. Ahead of my trip, I got in touch with Suzanne, the Princess of the Kingdom of Romkerhall and arranged my visit in advance. My tour guide for my trip was to be Miss Edith (Edtya), who speaks fluent Polish and therefore we could understand each other.

World Borders: How to Get to the Kingdom of Romkerhall (Konigreich Romkerhall) from Germany

Where is the Kingdom of Romkerhall?
It is a separate country housed in a hotel called Konigreich Romkerhall, situated deep in German countryside and mountains in Niedersachsen (Lower Saxonia). The nearest settlements are Altenau, Gosler, Oker and Bad-Harzburg.

Kingdom of Romkerhall on the Map

What is the Kingdom of Romkerhall?
The Kingdom of Romkerhall is a fully self-declared and self-run legitimate separate country housed in a hotel called Konigreich Romkerhall in the Niedersachsen (Lower Saxonia) area of Germany. The country was declared in 1988 as “the world’s smallest kingdom”, though when I toured it and read up on the history, I discovered that it has a much longer history to it.

World Borders: How to Get to the Kingdom of Romkerhall (Konigreich Romkerhall) from Germany

The entire country is housed in a hotel and the grounds around the hotel. It is in a truly tranquil, peaceful and gorgeous setting in rural Germany, like out of a fairytale. It is one of the coolest countries I have ever toured. The Hotel was built in the 19th Century and was originally a hunting lodge commissioned by King George the Fifth as part of his Hanover Kingdom.

The Kingdom of Romkerhall in all its glory

However, the end of the First World War in 1918 brought an end to the German monarchy and the entire country’s borders were shifted, affecting places like Gdańsk in Poland (then was known as the Free City of Danzig). Oddly a clause was noted that this lodge was not included in any parishes by the new Weimar Republic at the time, which rendered the hotel free and not officially included in German documents, therefore the Kingdom of Romkerhall was in essence not part of Germany even back then in 1918.

Backpacker on tour at the Kingdom of Romkerhall

The situation reared its head again in the 1970s when the parishes were redrawn yet still the Hotel here was omitted. This officially meant that the Hotel was in “no man’s land”, a ‘municipality free’ independent territory. Baron Lechner bought the lodge and set up his own country in it.

Welcome to the Kingdom of Romkerhall

The Hotel had suffered from fire damage but Lechner renovated it after this. However it wasn’t until more recently, under the leadership of Princess Susanne that it has become one of the most elaborate hotels in the world with elegantly designed bedrooms, a huge Royal Hall and a cosy restaurant. As the dream developed, so did a flag, a currency, a border, a website, a visa, souvenirs, an anthem and a thriving economy (all the money is made from the hotel – be it food and drink, overnight stays or purchasing of souvenirs). So without further ado, I went to visit and I loved this place, so I hope you can visit it too or even cooler – stay overnight here as it’s a fully functioning hotel and country!

Dining in the Kingdom of Romkerhall

The Kingdom of Romkerhall Has TWO Flags and is in Lower Saxonia, NOT Saxony
I got a bit confused between Saxonia and Saxony, strange for me since I come from Northern Ireland and also get irked when people confuse Ireland, Northern Ireland, Eire and Republic of Ireland. In short – Romkerhall is not situated in the mountains of Saxonia. The area is called Niedersachsen (Lower Saxonia). Saxonia and Lower Saxonia are 2 differant “Bundesländer”. Saxonia used to be East Germany and Lower Saxonia always belonged to BRD (Bundesrepublik Deutschland = West Germany). A nice bit of history!

Northern Ireland and Lower Saxonia

However Queen Erina who was crowned in 1988 and died in 2010 was called Princess Erina of Saxonia and also King George V. of Hannover was married to a Saxonian princess and it is said that he gave Romkerhall as a present to his wife Queen Marie. This is why the country has 2 flags. The Saxonian Royal flag and the flag of the Kingdom of Romkerhall with the waterfall on it (see enclosed the Knights Award which shows the Royal Coat of Arms).

Backpacking in the Kingdom of Romkerhall

Getting to Gosler, Oker or Bad-Harzburg in Lower Saxonia
I started my latest Germany adventure in Berlin and decided to go by train from Berlin to Gosler. I had noticed that Oker was the nearest decent sized settlement to the Kingdom of Romkerhall, but as Gosler was the bigger one, I assumed that it would have more bus and direct links to the Kingdom of Romkerhall.

Berlin to Gosler by train

Berlin to Gosler by train

Berlin to Gosler by train

Berlin to Gosler by train

So your first step is to get to the area where these three settlements are – Bad-Harzburg, Gosler and Oker. All three of them are in Niedersachsen (Lower Saxonia), lofty places up in the mountains. I toured all three on the day. I booked my train ticket from Berlin to Gosler as it was the furthest one away from Berlin of the three. I knew I could then decide which option to take. In the end, I got off early at Bad-Harzburg as I had left quite a bit of time for this one. It meant I could tour a mini waterfall on the edge of Bad-Harzburg, have a short walk round the town (which was admittedly boring) and then work out how to get to Romkerhall.

Bad-Harzburg

Bad-Harzburg

Bad-Harzburg
So first up I wanted to check out Bad-Harzburg and around. This is not part of the Kingdom of Romkerhall, just an extra few places I personally checked out. From Bad-Harzburg, I got a 820 bus to Radau Wasserfall. The bus took around 12 minutes and once there, I saw the waterfall amongst the rocks and mountain background. There was also a cosy hotel and café here which made the perfect place for a morning coffee while I waited on the next bus back to Bad-Harzburg. Before this, I had already noted that there was no direct bus from Bad-Harzburg to the Kingdom of Romkerhall.

Bad-Harzburg

Bad-Harzburg

On a bus to the waterfall

Waterfall on edge of Bad-Harzburg

Woods on edge of Bad-Harzburg

Coffee on edge of Bad-Harzburg

Hotel and restaurant on edge of Bad-Harzburg

Hotel and restaurant on edge of Bad-Harzburg

Waterfall on edge of Bad-Harzburg

Oker
Oker looked to me to be the most logical place to get a bus to the Kingdom of Romkerhall. So I got a bus number 810 from Bad-Harzburg to Oker Main Station. However, on arrival in Oker, it was clear that there were no buses or signs to the Kingdom of Romkerhall! And there was not much to see and do in Oker other than admire the mountains in the background.

Oker

Bus to Oker

It was now around 11 am and I realised that a taxi was my best bet. It’s a really remote place, but on the map it looked like Oker was only 10 – 15 kilometres from the Kingdom of Romkerhall. The only problem was – there were no taxis in sight!

A bus stop in Oker – no real options from here to Romkerhall despite its proximity.

So I went into the bar opposite the main station in Oker – you can’t miss this bar it’s on the main street and is called Bistro Am Bahnhof. They serve pizza, pasta, coffee, soft drinks and beer. I asked the couple working there (who were Vietnamese, not German) if they could help me get a taxi to Romkerhall. It was a Saturday morning and yes, they were able to get me one. I had a fifteen minute wait and as the mountains all around Oker were pretty stunning and  I was relaxed, I had a beer while I looked at my maps and waited.

Bar in Oker

Oker

Taxi from Oker, Germany to the Kingdom of Romkerhall
I was trying to think back through those 156 other countries to remember if I had ever got a taxi across a border before. Then I remembered Colombia to Venezuela was a “shared taxi” and so was Armenia to Georgia. There were probably a few other times as well, that I couldn’t recall. But this was a special one.

Taxi from Oker, Germany to the Kingdom of Romkerhall

Taxi from Oker in Germany for the Kingdom of Romkerhall

However, the most disappointing aspect of getting a taxi to the Kingdom of Romkerhall was the price. Without walking, hitch-hiking or having my own car, there really was no other option for me, so I bit the bullet and took the taxi.

Leaving Oker in Germany for the Kingdom of Romkerhall

Taxi from Oker in Germany to the Kingdom of Romkerhall

Taxi from Oker in Germany to the Kingdom of Romkerhall

My taxi driver wasn’t the most friendly and he added on an extra 5 Euro charge. Reluctantly I paid it. The total taxi bill cost me 21.30 Euros and I reluctantly gave him exact change and no more. I felt it was a total rip off as the journey only took about 10 – 15 minutes. I was literally paying almost 2 Euros for a minute. But it was my only option, and it was a cold wet day so I was glad of the speed to get there.

Views on route to the Kingdom of Romkerhall

Taxi from Oker in Germany to the Kingdom of Romkerhall

Despite the steep price of the taxi, the drive to the Kingdom of Romkerhall was smooth and scenic. Gorgeous Autumn leaves on the trees, and mountains on either side of the road. And besides, before 12 noon I had officially arrived in the Kingdom of Romkerhall. It is a Kingdom housed in a hotel, which claims to be the smallest Kingdom in the world.

Arrival at the Kingdom of Romkerhall – the world’s smallest kingdom!

Arrival at the Kingdom of Romkerhall – the world’s smallest kingdom!

Arrival at the Kingdom of Romkerhall – the world’s smallest kingdom!

Arrival at the Kingdom of Romkerhall – the world’s smallest kingdom!

What land here is the Kingdom of Romkerhall?
The borders between Germany and the Kingdom of Romkerhall are quite complex. Initially I thought that the Kingdom of Romkerhall was only the Hotel, but this is not true! The land of the Kingdom of Romkerhall includes is not only the hotel. Its size is ca. 5000 square metres. It is situated on both sides of the street. And also the part of the European Walking Trail behind the Royal Hall belongs to the Kingdom, so it’s more than just a country in a hotel, which I found fascinating.

The Kingdom of Romkerhall and Germany

When you step on the street you are leaving the Kingdom of Romkerhall and on the other side where there is the  waterfall you will enter the Kingdom again. The street used to belong to the Kingdom, too. But the former owner Lechner made a deal with the municipality of Goslar and they took the land of the street but they also have to take care of the street when there are some damages.

Backpacking in the Kingdom of Romkerhall

Backpacking in the Kingdom of Romkerhall

Crossing the Border from Germany into the Kingdom of Romkerhall
This couldn’t be simpler – the Kingdom of Romkerhall is the hotel here (and some land across the road and the walking trail, so by going in the door of the hotel, you are now in the Kingdom of Romkerhall and have left Germany behind. As you can see from the photos below, the door that acts as the border has the country’s name above it and the crest, both in stained glass windows.

Crossing the Border from Germany into the Kingdom of Romkerhall

Arrival at the Kingdom of Romkerhall

Arrival at the Kingdom of Romkerhall

Arrival at the Kingdom of Romkerhall

Crossing the Border from Germany into the Kingdom of Romkerhall

The Kingdom of Romkerhall

The Kingdom of Romkerhall is the hotel/castle. The rest of it is Germany.

Actually crossing the border from Germany into the Kingdom of Romkerhall

The Romkerhall Coat of Arms on the border

The welcome room and arrival hall doubles up as the reception, the visa clearance and issuance zone, the customs point and the souvenir shop.

Welcome Room/Arrival Hall in the Kingdom of Romkerhall

The welcome room

Welcome to the Kingdom of Romkerhall

Visas and Border Checks at the Kingdom of Romkerhall
The Kingdom of Romkerhall issues visas but they are NOT compulsory, which means you could backpack it and not even use, pay for or ask for a visa. However, you might know I have a visa series on this blog and therefore I love getting visas and new passport stamps so I had to take up the visa option! The visa policy was launched in 2010 and the income from the visa helps to support the hotel, the Kingdom and the renovation work. I also got a photo by the flag which flies proudly in the Kingdom of Romkerhall. The visas began in 2010 and were started by Princess Susanne as at the time, the place was in urgent need of refurbishment and with any country, all payments coming in help with the maintenance.

Visas and Border Checks at the Kingdom of Romkerhall

The princess said: “There are so many people that want to use our toilet without using our restaurant. But our staff has to clean the toilets. This is why I had had the idea of the transit visa.

1.Welcome Visa – 10 Euros
The Welcome Visa costs 10 Euros which includes a welcome drink inside of the Royal limousine which has its own bar, a full visit of the castle including the Royal Hall and the Royal Bedroom of Queen Erina. This is the visa option I took. It is actually a multiple entry visa for unlimited stay! But of course if you do that, you’ll have to pay each night for your bed in the hotel. My visa was issued by Miss Edith, who I was later able to call Edyta and amazingly she grew up in Bytom in Poland, so we were able to speak in Polish, thanks to my new project, Northern Irishman in Poland.

Souvenir Shop in the Kingdom of Romkerhall

Miss Edyta who issued my visa

My visa for the Kingdom of Romkerhall

2. Visitor Visa – 4 Euros
This visitor visa includes a full Hotel Tour and costs 4 Euros.

3.Overnight Visa – Free with a booking
If you book a night in the hotel or even a full meal in the restaurant, your visa is issued free of charge. Prices for hotel bookings are at the bottom of the article.

Visa point at the Kingdom of Romkerhall

4. Transit Visa – 1.5 Euros
There is a transit visa option, which would be good for those just passing through for lunch or a quick beer.  This was started because many people would stop here to use the toilet and then leave, as the toilet and halls require maintenance, and these people were officially entering a new country, a transit visa must be issued for people that aren´t a guest at the restaurant and who only want to use the toilet or have a nosey. They will get the money fully refunded if they will come back later and eat and drink.

My Visa for the Kingdom of Romkerhall

Currency in the Kingdom of Romkerhall
The official currency in the Kingdom of Romkerhall is the Konigsthaler. The current exchange rate of the currency is as follows:
1 Königsthaler equals 2,5 Euro.
The 2 RKT coin which I have a photo of below, costs 5.- Euro.
You can buy your Konigsthaler at the reception to the hotel which also operates as the country’s souvenir shop and border control. I picked up quite a few cool souvenirs while backpacking in the Kingdom.

A Romkerhall Coin

Some of my souvenirs from the Kingdom of Romkerhall

Some of my souvenirs from the Kingdom of Romkerhall

While the official currency is the Konigsthaler, Euros are also accepted however credit cards and other currencies are not. Here are the prices per night in the Kingdom of Romkerhall.

2017/18: Preis pro Person pro Nacht

(inkl. Frühstück)

Euro
im Standardzimmer (mit Dusche/WC)
35.- Euro
im Komfortzimmer mit Dusche/WC, TV)
45.- Euro
Prinzesschen-Zimmer, Fürsten-Zimmer, Cinderella-Zimmer,

Dornröschen-Suite

(Themenzimmer mit Himmelbett bzw. Baldachin , Dusche bzw. Badewanne/WC, Minibar, TV)

75.- Euro
Königliches Schlafgemach (ehemaliges Schlafzimmer von Königin Erina mit Wellnessdusche/WC, Minibar, Safe, TV sowie offenen Kamin);
80.- Euro
Einzelzimmerzuschlag im Einbett-Zimmer (nur 1 Zimmer verfügbar)
0.- Euro
Einzelzimmerzuschlag im Standardzimmer
15.- Euro
Einzelzimmerzuschlag im Komfortzimmer
25.- Euro
Einzelzimmerzuschlag im Themenzimmer
35.- Euro
Einzelzimmerzuschlag im Königszimmer (nur 1 Zimmer verfügbar)
40.- Euro
Mitbringen von Hunden (nicht in jedem Zimmer möglich) pro Hund/Nacht:
10.- Euro

 

Reservierungen nimmt entgegen:
Moneypenny Tours (Reservierungszentrale “Königreich Romkerhall”)
Außenstr. 6-8
90453 Nürnberg
Tel. 0911 – 6324673
Fax: 0911 – 6328312
e-mail: info@moneypenny.de

So what are you waiting for? Get backpacking in this amazing Kingdom! I also made some Instagram and Facebook posts about my time there:

 

Here are my videos from backpacking in the Kingdom of Romkerhall:

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