Abstract: We consider a family of open sets $M_\varepsilon$ which shrinks with respect to an appropriate parameter $\varepsilon$ to a graph. Under the additional assumption that the vertex neighbourhoods are small one can show that the appropriately shifted Dirichlet spectrum of $M_\varepsilon$ converges to the spectrum of the (differential) Laplacian on the graph with Dirichlet boundary conditions at the vertices, i.e., a graph operator \emph{without} coupling between different edges. The smallness is expressed by a lower bound on the first eigenvalue of a mixed eigenvalue problem on the vertex neighbourhood. The lower bound is given by the first transversal mode of the edge neighbourhood. We also allow curved edges and show that all bounded eigenvalues converge to the spectrum of a Laplacian acting on the edge with an additional potential coming from the curvature.