The Signal de Botrange - Waimes Hautes Fagnes - photo 18

The Signal de Botrange,
a condensed history and geography

Dominating the plateau of the Hautes Fagnes, Botrange rises  to 694 m above sea level and is the highest point in Belgium. This status was granted in 1920, when the Eastern Cantons (including the municipality of Waimes) became Belgian following the Treaty of Versailles. In doing so, it replaced the site of the Baraque Michel (672 m), located on the territory of Jalhay.
The Signal de Botrange - Waimes Hautes Fagnes - photo 19The Signal de Botrange - Waimes Hautes Fagnes - photo 20The Signal de Botrange - Waimes Hautes Fagnes - photo 21

Two geodesic markers were already present in the 19th century:

  • the "Pyramide Tranchot", erected in 1806 by the French colonel (under the Napoleonic Empire) charged with drawing up a map of the region. This stone bears a 1st order trigonometric point on its front face
  • the TP ("Trigonometrischer Punkt"), erected by the German military engineers in 1894


A mound was erected there in 1923 by General Baltia (High Commissioner of the Belgian Government for the East Cantons between 1920 and 1925), to indicate the location of this new summit of the Kingdom, just behind a wooden tower serving as an observation post  built by the Prussian administration.

The actual  tower was built in 1934 by François Fagnoul, from Waimes, 24 m high and offering a view of the surrounding countryside (and far beyond). At its feet, on the right-hand side, the tourist information center  informs visitors, particulary about the walks in the Fagnes.

A monument known as the "Botrange Manifesto" was inaugurated there in 2014 by the municipality of Waimes, in the presence of Mr. Paul Dandrifosse, author of the book "Nos terres volées en 1940", a plea for official recognition of the history of the East Cantons.

As part of the site's redevelopment, carried out by the municipality of Waimes in 2022 (development of the car park, access by an interior lift to the top of the tower - raised by a panoramic platform -, creation of a reception and information area for visitors, as well as modernisation of the brasserie-restaurant), the history of East Belgium will be retraced in the Eastorium (see History and Heritage), completed by a route through the Fagnes, along the old  boundary markers and  other Fagnes monuments.


The Signal de Botrange - Waimes Hautes Fagnes - photo 22

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The Signal de Botrange - Waimes Hautes Fagnes - photo 24


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