Belgium and the Netherlands peacefully re-arranged their borders this week to resolve a problem dating from the 1960s when a change to the course of the River Meuse left two small parcels of Belgian land isolated on the Dutch side of the river, while a fragment of the Netherlands was on the Belgian side.
The stranded Belgian territory became notorious for unregulated drug and sex activity, because the Dutch police had no jurisdiction and the Belgian officials could only reach it by boat.
In 2012 matters were brought to a head (or more accurately a missing head) when a decapitated body was found on the land. The Belgian investigators required special permission to travel to the area and the administrative hurdles were particularly bothersome.
On Monday this week an agreement was finally signed that realigns the national border with the river course. The land parcels Presqu’île de L’llal and Presqu’île d’Eijsden (totalling 25 hectares) were transferred to the Netherlands , while Belgium acquired Presqu’île Petit-Gravier (5 hectares).
Thus Belgium lost around 20 hectares.
Here’s an explanatory video (in Dutch but with English subtitles)
The Guardian just reported on the Pantanal, a large swathe of mostly Brazilian wetlands. The author stated “The Pantanal is the world’s largest wetland territory. Located mostly in Brazil but also covering Bolivia and Paraguay, the wetlands cover an area of 170,500 sq km – equivalent to the combined size of Belgium, Holland, Portugal and Switzerland. “
But did the author do the maths? Let’s check.
Portugal = 92,010 sq km
Holland = 41,850 sq km
Switzerland = 41,284 sq km
Total so far = 175,144, greater than the 170,000 claimed by the author for the Pantanl.
The NWT Chamber of Commerce has written a letter to the territory’s environment minister asking him to shelf the proposed Thaidene Nene park around the eastern arm of Great Slave Lake.
Thaidene Nene — originally proposed in the 1970s — covers almost 30,000 square kilometres of pristine waterways, forests and Canadian Shield near the community of Lutselk’e.
“It appears inconceivable to the business community that the GNWT would be a willing partner in such a reckless annexation of potentially productive land,” wrote Richard Morland, president of the NWT Chamber of Commerce.
“You will therefore understand our alarm when we contemplate the annexation of a land area the size of Belgium, contained within the proposed Thaidene Nene [park].”