Belgium and the Netherlands signed a treaty to exchange pieces of land along the Meuse river border, media reports said. Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Bert Koenders and Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders signed the convention for adapting the border in the presence of royal couples of both countries.
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“This unique border agreement is an example of our excellent cooperation with the Belgian people. We have showed today that the Netherlands and Belgium succeeded as good neighbours and can adjust borders in a peaceful way,” Xinhua news agency quoted Koenders as saying.
According to Reynders, the border treaty symbolizes the excellent state of the Belgian-Dutch relations. This is the second border adjustment between the Netherlands and Belgium in 175 years.
The current border was established in 1843 and followed the deepest point of the Meuse river. Adjustment was necessary because in 1961 the winding banks of the river were rectified for navigation purposes. As a result, parts of Belgian territory were attached to the Dutch riverside and vice versa.
Although there are neither people living nor buildings on the peninsulas, adjusting the border situation still is a lot of work, said Commissioner of the King in Dutch province of Limburg Theo Bovens. Ministries of both countries such as water boards, land registry agencies and three municipalities will be involved in the land swap. If the parliaments of both countries adopt the treaty next year,the border correction will take effect on January 1, 2018.