Didier Reynders signs treaty on border correction with the Netherlands
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders and his Dutch counterpart Bert Koenders today signed the Dutch-Belgian Treaty for the correction of the border in the Meuse river between the town of Visé (Belgium), and the municipalities of Eijsden-Margraten (Netherlands) and of Maastricht (Netherlands). The signing took place in the presence of the Dutch and Belgian monarchs.
The current border in this area was established in 1843 and followed the deepest point of the river. In 1961, it was agreed to rectify the winding river Meuse for navigation purposes. The border correction is a consequence of activities to improve the connection between the Albert Canal and the Juliana Canal from 1962 to 1980. As a result, parts of Belgian territory have attached to the Dutch riverside of the Meuse, and vice versa. These parts of land are therefore not accessible by road from their own country.
In preparation to this treaty, arrangements on environmental protection, land use and water management were made between the relevant authorities in Belgium and in the Netherlands. A Memorandum of Agreement was signed on 23 June 2016. The border correction will take effect on 1 January of the year following ratification of the treaty by Belgium and the Netherlands. From that moment on, the border will follow the middle line of the Meuse.
According to Didier Reynders, this border treaty symbolises the excellent state of Belgian-Dutch relations. The treaty shows that borders can also be changed in a peaceful manner. Thanks to the good understanding between all governments at various levels, an agreement could be reached.