Why moving this stone caused a dispute between two countries

Josh Dutton
·News Reporter
·2-min read

A farmer’s decision to move a stone blocking his tractor has caused a stir between two countries.

The farmer, from the Belgian city of Erquelinnes, was annoyed with the stone blocking his path and decided to move it.

But in doing so, he inadvertently moved the Belgian border with France.

The stone, marked 1819, was used for the 1820 Treaty of Kortrijk which established the boundaries between France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

It came after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo.

A stone marked 1819 used for the 1820 for the Treaty of Kortrijk is pictured in Belgium.
A farmer moved this stone and inadverdently changed the border between Belgium and France. Source: Facebook/ David Lavaux

David Lavaux, mayor of Erquelinnes, wrote on Facebook the farmer made France smaller and Belgium larger.

“We moved the 1819 border, Belgium and our municipality is enlarged; the French don't agree, obviously. Gonna have to put things back in place,” Mr Lavaux wrote.

"I was happy, my town was bigger," he told French TV channel TF1.

"But the mayor of Bousignies-sur-Roc didn't agree."

Bousignies-sur-Roc is a commune in northern France.

Aurélie Welonek, the mayor, told France Bleu the farmer moved the stone by 2.29 metres.

Ms Welonek joked to The Brussels Times, France and Belgium “should however be able to avoid a new border war”.

People in stitches over moved Belgium-France stone

On Facebook, people found the ordeal hilarious.

“Poor guy, he probably didn't think what was coming next,” one man wrote.

“And we've heard about it in Scotland! My friend told me about it... another Belgian joke. I wouldn't want to be in the shoes of the man.”

On Twitter a woman tweeted the story made her “laugh way more than it should”.

Another man jokingly tweeted: “this aggression will not stand”.

Mr Lavaux told CNN authorities know exactly where the stone should be.

"In 2019, during the 200th anniversary, they were geo-localised very precisely,” he said.

Authorities will speak to the farmer involved.

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