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Belgium, Netherlands to exchange territory (ap.org)
45 points by e15ctr0n on Dec 31, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 40 comments

FTA: "He highlighted how complicated history has woven the borders in the area close to where Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany touch, leaving enclaves and strangely twisted borders"

Hah, that's one way to describe it. There are pieces of the Netherlands inside pieces of Belgium inside the Netherlands, e.g.: https://www.google.com/maps/place/51%C2%B026'55.8%22N+4%C2%B...

I think that map should be part of every intro CS course. It's a great intro to a world where no you can't just use a bit to store gender. And names, yea lets not talk about names.

>no you can't just use a bit to store gender.

Why not? The bit can store male/female and you can leave it NULL for "prefer not to say".

A bit does not get 3 values.


True, though within a database you can leave a field as NULL.

There's also the weird situation on the Dutch-German border. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ems_(river)#Course:

"Between Emden and Delfzijl, the Ems forms the border between the Netherlands and Germany and is subject to mild dispute: the Dutch believe that the border runs through the geographical centre of the estuary, whereas the Germans claim it runs through the deepest channel (which is close to the Dutch coast). As the parties are now friendly states with an open border, the argument goes no further than an agreement to disagree.

It became an active issue in late July, 1914, when the Imperial German government began plans to mine the whole of the estuary that they claimed, in preparation for the launching of the Great War. The Dutch envoy in Berlin, Wilem Alexander Frederik Baron Gevers tactfully announced the boundary was uncertain, and that the dispute was "opgeschort", which could mean either 'suspended' or 'resolved', depending on the context. The Dutch government endorsed the ambiguous declaration, thus relieving itself of an obligation to declare war on Germany for violating its neutrality. After the war, the dispute was resumed."

Current status is that the two countries have formally agreed to disagree (https://www.dur.ac.uk/ibru/news/boundary_news/?itemno=22677)

This reminds me very much of the Chine Mieville fiction book 'The City and The City'[1]. Worth reading if this has piqued your interest.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_City_%26_the_City

And pieces of Germany inside Belgium, here: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@50.5988331,6.2002467,12z?hl=e...

According to the map on the Guardian website you are spot on: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/30/belgium-and-the...

I passed that place once, when walking from Petit Lanaye along the Rue Collinet to Maastricht. Normally, when you cross an international border, there's usually a checkpoint, or at the very least a sign. There was no sign. I only realized I'd crossed into the Netherlands when I heard people speaking in Dutch. The only indication of country around there seems to be the language spoken by the inhabitants, and the parcel of land being given up by Belgium is uninhabited.

There are no borders in the Schengen area, though.

Here, that is a bit older. Border controls within the Benelux were abolished in 1970 (http://www.britannica.com/topic/Benelux-Economic-Union)

Sounds to me that more effective police cooperation could be good to.

For example here in Norway we have, as I understand it, bilateral agreements that allows police officers from the other Scandinavian countries to enter Norway for search end rescue, and in some other cases if it is an ongoing situation. They may also request limited police authority in Norway by calling the local head of police (a relative quick and informal process).

Finland and Sweden also adjust the border between them every 25 years without drama.

So do the Netherlands and Belgium, or rather, the countries in the Schengen area. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Area#Police_and_jud...:

"The Schengen Agreement also permits police officers from one participating state to follow suspects across borders both in hot pursuit and to continue observation operations, and for enhanced mutual assistance in criminal matters."

Something for developers that have to deal with post codes addresses and this kind of stuff: even borders in stable regions can change.

This seems to concern a small unpopulated peninsula with no buildings at all, so no problem in this case.

This is so ripe for a paid third party service that I assume one already exists.

This kind of sounds like Northwest Angle [1], which, as an American, I think looks pretty ridiculous on our maps and we should probably just give it to Canada in exchange for some oil or something.

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwest_Angle

I'd agree were it not for this:

>Seventy percent of the land of the Angle is held in trust by the Red Lake Indian Reservation (Ojibwa).

It sounds like 70% of the land is not the U.S. Government's to give.

The Indian reservations belong to the US. If that wasn't the case and they were sovereign states nevermind giving them to Canada, couldn't they raise their own armies or build a Russian military base on their land?

>The Indian reservations belong to the US.

Notice how carefully I worded my comment:

>70% of the land is not the U.S. Government's to give.

"The federal Indian trust responsibility is [...] a legally enforceable fiduciary obligation on the part of the United States to protect tribal treaty rights, lands, assets, and resources." [0]

The questions of armies and building bases I'm not sure have been raised, so the legal precedents might not exist. Sufficed to say, however, that the GP's hypothetical sale to Canada would be wholly infeasible in light of the treaties between the sovereign tribes and the US, as well as the legal complexities those entail.


The questions have been raised. They are actually covered in the FAQ you linked to:

"Limitations on inherent tribal powers of self-government are few, but do include the same limitations applicable to states, e.g., neither tribes nor states have the power to make war, engage in foreign relations, or print and issue currency."

I'm not sure if this would prohibit raising an army per se, but what good is raising an army if you don't have the power to make war? Building bases is wholly out of the question, though, since that would involve engaging in foreign relations.

I'd thought it might be this mess, initially:


But it's somewhere else.

There's another enclave inside Flanders that causes Belgian politicians a lot more headaches, hehe.

I was wondering about that mess just the other day admiring the weirdness of our borders there. I guess one reason why those enclaves and miniature counter-enclaves exist there, is because it makes for a nice tourist attraction; the local community won't give that up without a fight.

And here i thought they going to fix that town that is cut in half where people had to move their front door to be in the "right" country again.... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baarle-Nassau

The fact that The Netherlands and about half of Belgium share the same language, Dutch, also helps. These two countries separated only about 150 years ago. (The other half of Belgium speaks French, the rest German and Belgium is the biggest mistake in the universe)

I think there are some border shifts that happened after WWI that I'd consider more along the lines of the biggest mistake in the universe, but the melange of Belgium and the Netherlands is pretty egregious.

Belgium and The Netherlands were not one country since 1579 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_of_Arras) except for the period between 1815 and 1830.

"Belgium" was occupied since 1579 (till 1815 or 1830 for a then small elite minority), the "Netherlands" fought another 80 years to liberate themselves. " " Because Spanish (Habsburg) territory at that time, known as the lowlands.

I think Belgium got the poor end of the deal.


I'm in Eijsden at the moment! I have family who live here, and we often walk down there and have lunch by the Meuse / Maas. It's quite a surprise to see it on HN.

No map. Of course.

Don't know why you were downvoted. It's absurd to include 5 photos with the article, but not a simple plan view of the territory.

It’s the journalists who go for the human interest angle instead of any petty details. It’s like when camera people at conferences exclusively show the presenter instead of the slides they are talking about (and/or pointing at), since it’s more interesting to show a person than some boring slides. The end result is that those who actually want to know any useful details won’t get any.

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