France commune

Farmer mistakenly moves 200-year-old French border with Belgium


A farmer – perhaps unintentionally – moved Belgium’s border with France.

The man moved a 150-kilogram stone so that he could extend the length of his land near the Belgian village of Erquelinnes, according to local media.

But in doing so, he also altered the 200-year-old international border defined by the Treaty of Kortrijk of 1820.

As a result of his actions, the border was moved by about 2.29 meters, expanding the territory of southern Belgium and reducing the size of the French village of Bousignies-sur-Roc.

The modified border position was discovered by a group of local historians while walking through the area.

The stone in question, engraved with the date of 1819, establishes the border between southern Belgium and northern France.

It was created after Napoleon’s defeat in the Belgian city of Waterloo in 1815 and before Belgium was incorporated as a state in 1830.

“The border post of 1819 has been moved … and our municipality has been enlarged”, declared the Belgian mayor of Erquelinnes, David Lavaux, wrote on Facebook.

“The French do not agree, of course. We will have to put things back in place,” he added.

Lavaux went to the controversial border between Bousignies and Montignies on Monday with a team of journalists from the French television channel TF1. Speaking to local media, the mayor added that the farmer would be asked to return the stone to his border position to avoid legal action.

“But if he shows good intentions he won’t have any problem, we’ll settle this out of court,” Lavaux said.

Meanwhile, the mayor of the neighboring French village, Aurélie Welonek, said The voice of the North that countries “should be able to avoid another border war”.