A farmer from the Walloon municipality of Erquelinnes has made international headlines after he accidentally moved the French border, making Belgium ever so slightly bigger in the process.
The accidental invasion – by around 7.5ft according to reports – came after the farmer decided to move the 150 kg stone marker, his French neighbour told local media.
Commenting on the incident, David Lavaux, mayor of Erquelinnes explained that “the 1819 boundary marker has been moved, Belgium and our commune have been enlarged; the French do not agree, of course. We will have to put things back in place.”
The moved stone is one of many that have marked the line between the two countries since France redrew borders following Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo. Long since lost to vegetation they have become the new passion project of local historians who have set about restoring them, which led to the discovery.
“I immediately had the impression that the boundary marker, located at the very end of the wood, had moved,” historian Jean-Pierre Chopin told French outlet La Vox du Nord.
“It’s a certainty that its location no longer corresponds to the data we have,” explained Aurélie Welonek, mayor of Bousignies-sur-Roc.
According to Welonek, Lavaux has asked the farmer to return the border to its original location, giving France back its land.
“We should however be able to avoid a new border war,” Welonek joked.