Belgium got a little bigger and France a little smaller, thanks to an annoyed Belgian farmer. The farmer accidentally moved a border marker between his country and France, thus enlarging the Belgian territory by a few meters.
The farmer in the border village of Erquelinnes moved a 200-year-old stone in the path of his tractor. It was not an ordinary stone, but a stone marking the border between the two countries. By moving it, the Belgian farmer gave his country 7.5 more feet (2.29 meters), taking the same amount away from France.
A local amateur historian walking through the forest near the Belgian village of Erquelinnes discovered that the stone dating from 1819 had been moved. The fence around the farmer’s perimeter had also been moved.
The border between France and Belgium stretches for 620 km (390 miles). It was officially established under the Treaty of Kortrijk, signed in 1820 after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo. The stone dates back to 1819 when the border was first drawn.
David Lavaux, the mayor of the Belgian village of Erquelinnes, said the farmer will have to move the stone or could face criminal charges.
“We have no interest in enlarging the city or the country. He has enlarged Belgium and France smaller. It is not a good idea,” he told French television channel TF1.
“I was happy, my city was bigger,” added the Belgian mayor, laughing. “But the mayor of Bousignies-sur-Roc did not agree.”
“Yes [the farmer] shows good will, he will not have a problem, we will settle this issue amicably, ”Lavaux said.
“We should be able to avoid a new border war,” Aurélie Welonek, the mayor of Bousignies-sur-Roc, told La Voix du Nord newspaper.
If the terminal is not returned to its usual location, a Franco-Belgian commission could be set up to determine the exact border.