BRUSSELS | In Belgium, an owner whose lands border France recently moved the old stone marker that marked the precise location of the border, effectively pushing back the country’s boundaries in defiance of an international treaty of 1820.
Contacted by AFP, David Lavaux, mayor of Erquelinnes where the daring owner is domiciled, confirmed the information reported by local media in northern France.
This Belgian resident, who recently became the owner of several hectares on the edge of the Bousignies woods (France), obviously wanted to take advantage of the calm of the place to further expand his land, according to the elected official.
“Moving the terminal back 2 meters 20, obviously that enlarged his property,” said David Lavaux.
“What he did not expect is that this terminal had been geolocated with great precision in 2019. It was therefore easy to prove that it had moved,” he continues.
The discovery, which dates back about a month, is due to French enthusiasts who identify these historical marks of the Franco-Belgian relationship, and the limits set between neighbors.
These stone markers have been engraved with the number “1819”, their year of creation, with an F on the side faces for the kingdom of France and on the other side an N (Nederland) for that of the Netherlands.
Belgium, created in 1830, did not yet exist at the time as an independent kingdom. After the defeat of Napoleon I in 1815 at Waterloo (south of Brussels), the territory had returned under the domination of the Dutch crown.
In 1820, a so-called “Limits” Treaty was signed in Kortrijk (in present-day Dutch-speaking Belgium) to inscribe this border line in black and white … which apparently had not moved until the unfortunate gesture from Erquelinnes.
But according to David Lavaux, an appointment has been set with the owner to ask him to repair his package quickly.
“We will have contact with him before the end of the week. We will ask him to put the terminal back to its original location. If he does, we don’t talk about it anymore, ”assured the elected official.