Belgium in Brief: Can I Have My Ball Back?

Belgium in Brief: Can I Have My Ball Back?
Credit: Belga/Pexels

An upcoming reform to Belgium’s property laws could fundamentally alter inter-neighbour relations. That cornerstone of sub-urban diplomacy:

“Hey mister, can we have our ball back?”

Gone. No more.

Now that’s cool and all, but what’s more interesting is that current rules mean you could have just said no.

Just imagine, a hoarder’s empire of faded footballs and an army of lost cats… Surely nobody ACTUALLY did that? This current situation is starting to sound a little like finders keepers, losers weepers, which probably isn’t how the world should work.

The change to the rules also brings things in Belgium a little closer to the right to roam – a common practice in Norway, Sweden, Estonia, and Scotland – which means people can pretty much go where they want in the countryside.

The Belgian rule is, of course, a little more complex.

From 1 September it will also be possible to walk on private land, providing it is not cultivated or tilled, according to Professor Vincent Sagaert (KU Leuven), who helped with the reform. However, if there is a sign saying that access is prohibited, or if the plots are fenced off, people are still not allowed to walk there.

So you can totally roam, but considering Belgium’s fondness for private land and fenced-in fields, that roaming might be mostly limited to getting your ball back from the garden next door.

Well, that wrapped up neatly.

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