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    Belgium, Netherlands to swap territory on January 1

    (c) Belga
    (c) Belga

    Belgium and the Netherlands will conduct an official territorial swap on the 1st of January, the Governor of the Province of Liège, Hervé Jamar, announced on Friday in a press release. The two countries had decided in 1961 to improve the link between the Juliana Canal and the Albert Canal. The bed of the Meuse River was thus modified at the towns of Visé, Maastricht and Eijsden-Margraten. Plots of Belgian land thus became enclaves in the Netherlands while the same occurred with bits of Dutch territory. As a result of these changes, the police and emergency services, in particular, had difficulty accessing the respective enclaves.

    Talks on the issue started in 2014 between the ministers concerned, the Walloon Region, the provinces, three communes, the respective land registries, police and institutions managing the waterways of the two countries.

    From the 1st of January 2018, the territorial swap will become official. Belgium is handing over a little more than 16 ha of its territory, only natural zones, to the Netherlands, and will receive,  in return, 3ha from The Hague, as well as the Lanaye Sluice, a strategic passageway for river traffic.

    Andy Sanchez
    The Brussels Times