The boundaries that determine the size and shape of countries were laid out hundreds of years ago by our ancestors, presumably through a long haggling process littered with promises to be someone’s best friend. Or at least that’s what I assume, I’m not a geography student. But the point is, those boundaries have been in place for ages, and any attempts to change them would likely be met with severe pushback. Though, if that is the case, they probably shouldn’t make it so easy.
A farmer living near the border between Belgium and France discovered a large, rectangular rock on the forest path where he was trying to drive his tractor. Annoyed with the obstruction, he moved it off to the side so he could pass. Later on, a history enthusiast was passing by when he noticed the moved rock. As it so happens, this rock wasn’t just a rock, but a cartographic mark placed back in 1819 that denotes the border between the two countries. By moving the rock, the farmer had inadvertently made Belgium bigger, and France smaller.
Thankfully, nobody was overtly annoyed with the turn of events, meeting it instead with some good-hearted chuckles.
“He made Belgium bigger and France smaller, it’s not a good idea,” David Lavaux, mayor of the Belgian village of Erquelinnes, told French TV channel TF1. “I was happy, my town was bigger, but the mayor of Bousignies-sur-Roc didn’t agree.”
“We should be able to avoid a new border war,” joked the mayor of the neighboring French village, Aurélie Welonek.
Farmer accidentally shifts Belgium’s border with France ? https://t.co/6wZqKnP1uI
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) May 4, 2021
Local authorities are looking to contact the farmer who moved the rock so they can request he move it back to where it was. Why he specifically has to do it, I don’t know; maybe it’s a symbolic thing. If he refuses, though, the Belgian Foreign Ministry might have to get involved, and he could face criminal charges, so hopefully he saves everyone a lot of paperwork and just moves the rock back.