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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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Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:

1. Brussels to vaccinate residents in Primark, Action and IKEA

Brussels will roll out vaccination initiatives in large chain stores in the region, including IKEA, Primark, Action, and Carrefour, to increase its coverage rate. Read more.

2. Entering neighbour’s garden to get ball or pet back allowed from September

People who accidentally kicked their ball into their neighbour’s garden or whose pet has ended up there will be allowed to simply go and retrieve it from 1 September, as Belgium’s new property law comes into effect. Read more.

3. 800 steps, then he stopped: Likely Conings died shortly after disappearance

It is “highly likely” that Jürgen Conings, the former army soldier with extremist views who went missing in mid-May for around one month, committed suicide shortly after his disappearance. Read more.

4. STIB’s hydrogen-powered bus will launch in September

Brussels will receive its first hydrogen-powered public transport from the start of September when the first hydrogen bus from STIB officially hits the roads of the Belgian capital. Read more.

5. Uccle impounds 30 illegally parked e-scooters

The Brussels municipality of Uccle has become the first in the region to mass impound electric scooters parked illegally in the area. Read more.

6. Investigation launched into shooting of Belgian man at Kabul airport

An investigation has been launched by the Belgian Foreign Affairs Ministry into the shooting of a Belgian national at Kabul airport on Friday. Read more.

7. Diesel prices rise in Belgium from Wednesday

Diesel prices at Belgian pumps will increase from this Wednesday, reaching a two-year high following a year of steadily rising prices. Read more.

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