Farmer triggers ‘border war’




In a week that has seen two Royal Navy gunboats deployed to Jersey to repel an angry flotilla of 60 French fishing boats, news reaches these shores of another dispute between our nearest continental neighbours and Belgium.

For it would seem a Belgian farmer has unintentionally caused a stir after redrawing his country’s border with its French cousins – when a stone, marking the boundary between the two countries, got in the way of his tractor. So the quick-thinking landowner moved it out of the way (as we all would do) – moving it inside French territory and thereby triggering an international ‘incident’.

According to Sudinfo, the Belgian news website, a local history enthusiast was walking in the forest when he noticed the stone marking the boundary between the two countries had moved 2.29 metres inside French territory. In imperial measurements this is about seven and a half feet.

Moves underway

Thankfully, instead of causing an international uproar, like the row between Britain and France over fishing rights, the incident has been greeted with smiles on both sides of the border.

‘He made Belgium bigger and France smaller,’ David Lavaux, mayor of the Belgian village of Erquelinnes, told reporters.

The border between France and what is now Belgium stretches 620km (390 miles). It was formally established under the Treaty of Kortrijk, signed in 1820 after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo five years earlier. The stone dates back to 1819, when the border was first marked out.

‘I was happy, my town was bigger,’ the Belgian mayor added with a chuckle.

Moves are now underway to get the farmer to return the stone to its original location. If he refuses, he could face criminal charges.

Tony Yorke is Deputy Editor of Sorted magazine.



You may also like

Sorted Magazine

Sorted discusses the big issues of the day – focusing on subjects as diverse as culture, sport, cars, health, faith, gadgets, humour and relationships. We aim to be positive and wholesome in all we do. And we have been achieving this since 2007.

Every printed issue of Sorted is read by more than 100,000 men in 21 different countries – while digitally, the number of people reading our online content (free and via subscription) continues to soar.




Follow Us



Visit our shop for great gift ideas