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IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

Boundary news

Boundary news Headlines

Amicable land swap between Belgium and the Netherlands

(14 January 2016)

Belgium authorities have decided to hand over to the Netherlands a piece of land; a meander in the Meuse river that had turned into a peninsula linked by land to the Netherlands but disconnected from Belgium.

The area had become increasingly lawless and a haven for drug dealers. Belgian authorities were finding it increasingly difficult to access and control the area. When a headless body was found there three years ago Belgian authorities “had to go there by boat with all that was needed.” According to Jean–Francois Duchesne, the police commissaire of the Lower Meuse region, “the prosecutor, the legal doctor, the judicial lab — we had to do round trips over the water. It really was not very practical.”

In return for the meander, Belgium will get a small piece of land around a lock that has been built to promote traffic between the two countries.

Preparatory work has been done and the two countries’ parliaments should be able to complete a deal sometime in 2016.


Belgium and the Netherlands swap land – because it 'makes sense' 30th December 2015, The Guardian,