52 - The Enclaves and Counter-enclaves of Baarle (B/NL)
From a young age, Frank was fascinated by maps and atlases, and the stories they contained. Finding his birthplace on the map in the endpapers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only increased his interest in the mystery and message of maps.
While pursuing a career in journalism, Frank started a blog called Strange Maps, as a repository for the weird and wonderful cartography he found hidden in books, posing as everyday objects and (of course) floating around the Internet.
"Each map tells a story, but the stories told by your standard atlas for school or reference are limited and literal: they show only the most practical side of the world, its geography and its political divisions. Strange Maps aims to collect and comment on maps that do everything but that - maps that show the world from a different angle".
A remit that wide allows for a steady, varied diet of maps: Frank has been writing about strange maps since 2006, published a book on the subject in 2009 and joined Big Think in 2010. Readers send in new material daily, and he keeps bumping in to cartography that is delightfully obscure, amazingly beautiful, shockingly partisan, and more.
One of the unlikeliest complexes of enclaves and exclaves in the world is to be found on the Belgian-Dutch border, and is centred on Baarle. This town, while surrounded entirely by Dutch territory, consists of two separate administrative units, one of which is the Dutch commune of Baarle-Nassau, the other being the Belgian commune of Baarle-Hertog.For an exhaustive history, please visit this page of the Buffalo Ontology Site.
That same story, more succinctly: here…
The Belgian-Dutch border was established in the Maastricht Treaty of 1843, which mostly confirmed boundaries which were a few centuries old (as the separation of Belgium and the Netherlands has its origin in the religious wars of the 16th century). In the area around Baarle, it proved impossible to reach a definitive agreement. Instead, both governments opted to allocate nationality separately to each of the 5.732 parcels of land in the 50 km between border posts 214 and 215.
These parcels ‘coagulated’ into a veritable archipelago of 20-odd Belgian exclaves in and around Baarle. In turn, some of these Belgian exclaves completely surround pieces of Dutch territory. Deliciously complicating this picture is a small enclave of Baarle-Nassau situated entirely within Belgium proper – and there’s even a Belgian parcel within a Dutch parcel within a Belgian enclave, which in turn is surrounded entirely by Dutch territory…
Numerous attempts have been made throughout the centuries to (literally) rectify the situation, but they have obviously all failed – leaving the double entity of Baarle-Nassau/Baarle-Hertog with some absurd folklore.
This map taken from this page of previously mentioned website. Belgian territory marked red. Dutch territory is white.
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
- Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
- What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
- Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.