Belgium and France aren’t very apart from one another. Both speak French, as a matter of fact, nearly forty per cent of the Belgians speak French. So there’s this sense of familiarity and closeness between the two EU nations. At the same time, there is a distance of no fewer than 556 kilometres between the two Western European nations. The lines that separate the two have been drawn not since now but stand firmly in place since 1820, since the Treaty of Kortrijik came into effect.
But this is when a Belgian farmer arose in a weird sense of action and nearly changed the lines of Geography once and for all. So the question is- just what happened that it nearly changed the border between two prominent European nations.
Apparently, this Belgian farmer from the village of Erquelinnes made not so bright but flimsy headlines when he happened to remove a single stone from his tractor, placing it eventually to a more convenient spot, as a result of which he happened to change the actual border of Belgium and France.
In a report published on the BBC, the Belgian farmer, who perhaps acted in haste being purely unaware of the geographic consequences of his act, happened to displace the border, moving it to a distance no fewer than 7.5 feet in length. That is approximately 2.29 meters.
To sum it up, the result of this Belgian farmer’s action fundamentally increased the size of his home country and that too, by 1,000 square meters.
That being said, here’s what a report published on News 18 happened to report on an incident you can actually describe as both- hilarious, obscure and nearly geography-altering:
A local history buff, who was walking along the border in the forest, spotted the stone out of place. The border between the two nations is about 620 kilometres and the stone markers that define it have been put up for more than 200 years now. The stone was laid down in 1819 and the border was unofficially marked out before the Treaty of Kortrijk sealed the deal in 1820.
This accident had all the ingredients that could have turned into a major diplomatic incident between the two European countries but luckily, the local authorities of both sides saw the funny side of it.
That being told, it’s important to know whether there was a consequence of the Belgian farmer’s action?
Well, truth be told, the action is still in the works but the effort is on. The authorities back in Belgium have planned to ask the farmer to put back the stone to its previous situation, one that had been in tact, until all such time before the weird course of action happened to create globe-trotting headlines.
If that course of action is done, then maybe there will be absolutely no need to involve the Franco-Belgian border commission. The same, it must be duly noted, has not been active for 90 odd years, which is no less than nine decades.
But in a world where everyday we hear sobbing and painful COVID-riddled stories, this was an incident that was funny and strange in equal measure, wasn’t it? A welcome change of sorts in some ways.