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Europe/Enclaves

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Vitali
148002.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 1:06 pm Reply with quote

According to a widely accepted definition, "enclaves" are parts of one country totally surrounded and landlocked by the territory of another. This definition excludes self-governing mini-states, surrounded by foreign territory: San Marino, Andorra, Vatican City, etc., or isolated parts of a country that are accessible by sea and hence have a direct link to their motherland: Alaska, Kaliningrad region of Russia and the disputed Spanish towns of Ceuta and Melilla on the Mediterranean coast of Morocco which are often incorrectly referred to as enclaves.
The most fascinating quality of the remaining European enclaves (or "exclaves", if viewed from their mother country, or "outliers" to use a more "neutral" word) is that they simultaneously combine characteristics of two separate European nations.

Most European enclaves appeared in the Middle Ages – after the Treaties of Madrid (1526) and of Westphalia (1648), the latter ending the Thirty Years War and creating diverse and independent principalities which made the map of Europe resemble a sloppily manufactured patchwork quilt. Others resulted from landownership disputes, or plain mistakes. With the advent of capitalism, Napoleonic wars, creation of German and Italian states and the Swiss Confederation, most of the enclaves were eventually re-attached to their mother-countries or swallowed up by host-states. Verenahof, a small patch of German farmland inside Switzerland, was the last European enclave to lose its status as recently as in 1964, when it was happily absorbed by the Swiss.
Apart from Vennbahn, a Belgian railway cutting into German territory south of Aachen to form five Belgian “pockets” inside Germany, and several Alpine villages that can only be accessed from neighbouring countries (Samnaun, Jungholz and Kleinwalsertal Valley) - the so-called “semi-enclaves” (sometimes called "pene-enclaves"), only four “full-scale” outliers can now be found in Europe. They are: Campione d’Italia – an Italian town in Switzerland; Llivia – a Spanish (or rather Catalan) town in the French Pyrenees; Busingen – a German village in Switzerland; and Baarle-Nassau/ Baarle-Hertog – a unique Dutch/Belgian municipality comprising twenty two pieces of Belgium and eight – of Holland. Like children of mixed marriages, torn between two different cultures and ways of life, they combine traits of their mother countries with those of their host states – the fact that makes them wonderfully uncertain, idiosyncratic and ambivalent.
Most of them have two different international dialing and postal codes, and the Belgian/Dutch Baarle has two mayors, two town councils two police forces, two fire brigades etc., etc. The majority have political systems of their mother countries, whereas economically they operate as parts of their host states. Two enclaves inside Switzerland (Italian - Campione and German - Busingen) use two different currencies - euro and Swiss francs, although prices are always in the host country's currency, i.e. Swiss francs. Italian residents of Campione vote in Italian elections, yet pay Swiss taxes and, being EU/Italian citizens, require a permit to work in Italy, but not in Switzerland. Both Campione and Busingen, albeit on the EU territory, are excluded from the EU membership by special protocols.
A Baarle woman whose house is dissected by the border seriously assured me that it was more lucrative to give birth on the Belgian side of her bedroom, because child benefits in Belgium are higher than in Holland!
The border in Baarle runs through pubs, shops (cash register in Belgium, goods - in Holland, or the other way around), car parks, a theatre stage etc, and prices for exactly the same goods within the town can be different - depending on whether the shop is Belgian or Dutch.

PS. I have managed to visit all existing enclaves and semi-enclaves of Western Europe and Verenahof (see above) researching one of my books (yet unpublished) and know them very well. One of the least known aspects of modern European geography, they offer a potential for a number of QI and General Ignorance questions. What do you think?

NB. Of 255 enclaves currently existing in the world, almost 90% are located in the small corner of Asia between India and Bangladesh.

Sources: 1. own research
2. "The Exclave Problem of Western Europe" by Honore M. Catudal, Jr, The University of Alabama Press, Alabama, 1979


Last edited by Vitali on Fri Feb 16, 2007 1:51 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
Bunter
148015.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 1:26 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
They are: Campione d’Italia – an Italian town in Switzerland; Llivia – a Spanish (or rather Catalan) town in the French Pyrenees; Busingen – a German village in Switzerland; and Baarle-Nassau/ Baarle-Hertog – a unique Dutch/Belgian municipality comprising twenty two pieces of Belgium and eight – of Holland.



I think this might be the stuff to focus on. Do these enclaves have seperate governments and laws? And what about voting and languages?

 
Vitali
148034.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 1:56 pm Reply with quote

Thanks for your comment. I've just added a couple of paras to the entry partly answering your questions. There's no end to the enclaves' idiosyncracies... V

 
suze
148041.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 2:04 pm Reply with quote

The Baarle-Hertog / Baarle-Nassau one fascinates me - I fully intend to go there some day.

Is it true or urban myth that one's property taxes are paid to the country in which one's front door is located? And if so, do people really move their front doors to the back of the house if that's financially advantageous?

 
Bunter
148043.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 2:10 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
The border in Baarle runs through pubs, shops (cash register in Belgium, goods - in Holland, or the other way around), car parks, a theatre stage etc, and prices for exactly the same goods within the town can be different - depending on whether the shop is Belgian or Dutch.



I love the idea that you can perform a production of Hamlet in Belgium and Holland simultaneously.

According to Wiki:

Quote:
There was a time when according to Dutch laws restaurants had to close earlier. For some restaurants in the border it meant that the clients had simply to change their tables to the Belgian side.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baarle-Hertog

 
Bunter
148045.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 2:18 pm Reply with quote

Here's a little bit stuff that touches on this subject from the outer boards. Vitali - is this accurate?

In Baarle-Hertog -Nassau:

Quote:
"Orange portions within green portions represent exclaves of the Netherlands
completely surrounded by Belgian territory which are in turn completely
surrounded by the territory of the Netherlands....
For many years the shops in Belgium were open on Sundays, those in the Netherlands not – with the exception of those in Baarle. Taxes in Belgium and The Netherlands differed sometimes a lot, so one could go shopping between two tax-regimes in one single street. And don't forget the Belgian chocolate, you could not find that quality in The Netherlands. With the coming of the European Union some of those differences disappeared. To make the enclaves visible for the visitor, the little plates with the house numbers are made to look different: ovals with the Belgian colours and rectangles with Dutch colours. Officially a letter goes by post from Hertog over Turnhout to Brussels and than by air to Amsterdam, and for the last part of the journey over Tilburg to Nassau. But if you use the letterbox in the next street, the letter doesn't leave Baarle at all!"


http://ontology.buffalo.edu/smith//baarle.htm

From here:
http://www.qi.com/talk/viewtopic.php?p=27547#27547

 
eggshaped
148056.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 2:41 pm Reply with quote

Suze, the front door thing is not a myth, I feel.

The official baarle-hertog website can be found here.

Quote:
To deal with this matter, as regards the inhabitants we handle the so-called “front door rule": they must have themselves registered in the municipal population registers of the municipality where their front door of their house is situated. The place of the front door also determines which public utilities (such as electricity and telephony) one obtains.


Hard to know whether they manipulate this law without visiting; Vitali, is this something you came across? You would think that when registering the front door there would be some kind of beurocracy which makes the decision for them.

However the "front door rule" would probably mean that this:

Quote:

A Baarle woman whose house is dissected by the border seriously assured me that it was more lucrative to give birth on the Belgian side of her bedroom, because child benefits in Belgium are higher than in Holland


would be a futile effort, especially at the expense of giving birth in a hospital. Perhaps it's the kind of fact the locals like to tell visitors.

 
eggshaped
148060.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 2:56 pm Reply with quote

Unless it's this house:

Quote:

Moreover, one house has a front door where the border going through the middle of it, making the front door rule completely useless . This house, situated at Loveren, carries two house numbers, and as such has two addresses: Loveren 2 in Baarle-Hertog and Loveren 19 in Baarle-Nassau.


But even so, you would imagine the house would have to be registered in one of the towns.

 
Flash
148087.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 4:08 pm Reply with quote

It feels like this situation might make a pretty good sitcom. let alone a single question. For our purposes we'd need to boil it right down, though.

It might also feed into St Pierre and Miquelon, a part of France located off the coast of Newfoundland which suze drew to our attention. It was the only part of North America to be occupied by the Germans in WW2, and it uses the Euro.

 
Vitali
148139.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 6:45 pm Reply with quote

Thanks, everyone, and sorry for having sent some of the replies to your private email boxes. I am only learning how to use this site.
Briefly, they do give birth at home in largely rural Baarle. And yes, they do try to position front doors in the country with a lower taxation level (normally Belgium). The confusion is such that each house in Baarle has to be marked not just with a number, but with a flag - Dutch or Belgian. It is the world's only place where policemen of two different national forces work in the same room and share the same desk, albeit none is allowed to look at the other's computer screen...

 
Vitali
148143.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 6:50 pm Reply with quote

It's all correct re: letters etc. Thanks, Bunter. I heard a similar story in Llivia, a Catalan/Spanish enclave inside France. A letter sent from the town to the nearest French village (about 5 min walk away) had to go to the EU sorting centre in Amsterdam and took about 10 days to arrive!

 
Flash
148148.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 7:10 pm Reply with quote

I guess there must be pictures of this place; if we can find a funny one, the question may be as simple as:

Q: What's Quite Interesting about these two houses?
A: They're in different countries.
backed up by all the detail about the oddities involved, in the notes.

 
Flash
148151.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 7:14 pm Reply with quote

Here's the house which is split down the middle of the front door. Not all that hysterical of a picture, unfortunately.

 
Flash
148154.  Fri Feb 16, 2007 7:20 pm Reply with quote

What's Quite Interesting about Suite 212 at Claridges?

In July 1945 this suite was declared by the British Government to be part of Yugoslavia, for the purpose of ensuring that the heir to the Yugoslav throne would be born on Slavic soil. A couple of days later they grabbed it back.
http://www.hiddeneurope.co.uk/hidden_europe_3_tangled_territories.pdf

 
Bunter
148200.  Sat Feb 17, 2007 3:52 am Reply with quote

Quote:
It feels like this situation might make a pretty good sitcom. let alone a single question.


Working title: "Fawlty Powers".

 

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