King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians have brought a little something special for the state visit to the Netherlands; a piece of land.
During the start of the state visit to the Netherlands, both countries will sign a border correction treaty concerning the province of Limburg in the south of the Netherlands. The Belgian peninsulas Presqu’île de L’llal and Presqu’île d’Eijsden will be traded for the Dutch peninsula Petit Gravier. This will increase the size of the Netherlands approximately 10 hectares (approximately 24.7 acres).
This is the second border correction between the Netherlands and Belgium in the last 175 years. The correction is being done because the Maas River, which was naturally bendy, was straightened causing the three peninsulas to suddenly be on the wrong side of the border. This caused legal problems for the Presqu’île de L’llal after illegal parties could not be broken up by Belgian police as they could only reach it by boat or via a detour requiring permission from the Netherlands. People in the area often complained of illegal parties, drug dealers and sex tourists in the area.
If the treaty is approved, the trade will be official on 1 January 2018. Governor Bovens is quite proud of the results, “You don’t often see that borders can be changed without firing a gun, but there was an excellent collaboration here.”
This is the start of a three-day state visit to the Netherlands. Besides the signing of the treaty, King Philippe will also lay a wreath at the National Monument on Dam Square. King Willem-Alexander is hosting a state banquet for his Belgian guests tonight at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. In return, King Philippe is hosting a concert evening with the National Orchestra of Belgium and Ozark Henry in the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ.