Moresnet: a small country in a big narrative

Historian article

By Wim van Schijndel, published 16th August 2019

Wim van Schijndel explores the intriguing story of Moresnet, a tiny enclave in Europe that existed from 1816 until 1920 between the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, until it was finally annexed by Belgium at the time of the Treaty of Versailles.

A big part of our modern-day society is based on borders. They help to show us what is ours and what isn’t. Borders come in all kinds of forms. There is the strict border between two countries and, depending on which countries, crossing that border can be very difficult or very easy. For instance, crossing the border between the Netherlands and Belgium is much easier than crossing the border between the United States of America and Mexico, not to mention the border between the Koreas. There’s also the border between our own back garden and the garden of our neighbours; this is hardly comparable to the US-Mexican border, but the concept remains the same: a border is dividing...

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