We’ve all made mistakes, but this was a big one.

A farmer made a huge error, when he unknowingly changed Belgium’s border with France. Oops.

The change only came to light after a local history enthusiast spotted it while walking in the forest.

This history buff noticed the stone marking the boundary between the two countries had moved some 7.5ft.

It happened when the Belgian farmer became annoyed by the stone being in his tractor’s path.

So, to make life easier, he moved it inside French territory.

Fortunately for him, his little rearrangement was taken with good humour on both sides of the border.

David Lavaux is mayor of the Belgian village of Erquelinnes. He told French TV channel TF1: “He made Belgium bigger and France smaller, it’s not a good idea,”

Moving boundaries and taking inches of land is enough to cause rows between neighbours, never mind countries.


The border measures some 390 miles. It came to being in 1820 under the Treaty of Kortrijk. It was signed following Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo five years earlier.

The stone in question was put in place back in 1819. It was set to mark the border out.

The Belgian mayor joked: “I was happy, my town was bigger, but the mayor of Bousignies-sur-Roc didn’t agree.”

Aurélie Welonek is the mayor of the neighbouring French village and fortunately she sees the funny side, too: “We should be able to avoid a new border war,” she told La Voix du Nord.

Apparently local authorities in Belgium will be contacting the farmer to ask him to return the stone back to where it was.

It could all still end up at the Belgian foreign ministry if the farmer fails to do so.

The ministry would call a Franco-Belgian border commission, and they have been dormant since 1930.

The farmer could also face criminal charges if he doesn’t move it back.

Mr Lavaux says: “If he shows goodwill, he won’t have a problem, we will settle this issue amicably,” he told Belgian news website Sudinfo.


The farmer’s land isn’t the only place to straddle two countries.

A hotel and restaurant has tourists flocking as it’s located directly on the border between France and Switzerland.

It’s found on the plateau des Rousses. Called L’Arbézie Franco-Suisse, it manages to be in two countries at once.

Walking through the hotel counts as travelling.

The staircase of the hotel starts in France, but by step 13 you are in Switzerland.

Even funnier, depending on where your room is, you might even be sleeping in France and showering in Switzerland.

They’ve fully embraced the theme: the restaurant is split into two parts with a French side and a Swiss side.

You can choose which side to sit in, and dine accordingly.

The French side is said to be more informal, but the Swiss side is gourmet.

If you’re one of life’s indecisive people, you can sit at the bar in the middle.

The hotel started life as a shop in 1863.

House Mishap

A man has recently got more than he bargained for after his neighbour built an extension to his property.

The new part of the building now finishes inches away from his home, leaving next to no gap inbetween.

Stuart Smith now can’t reach the side of his house in Kings Norton, near Birmingham, because of the extension.

He told Birmingham Live, that he has reported a ‘catalogue of errors’.

The closeness of the house to his could cause potential damp and drainage issues.

The guttering from both properties are now in contact.

He claims the builders couldn’t fit the roof properly, so just built a wall below his roof and stepped in.

Mr Smith said: “There’s no gap to be able to maintain our own property.

“We can never remove the gutters now, we can’t unfix the felt roof, or the fascias or render the side of the house. It’s like that permanently now and any problems we’ll have to live with.

“They [the builders] didn’t actually realise until they started building underneath my eaves. It was only when they got so far up they realised my roof was in the way of them putting their own roof on.

“I did speak to the neighbour at that point and they said they would ‘sort it out’, but [the builders] didn’t fix it, they just worked around it, built a little flat roof and built the roof to the side – bizarre.”


Birmingham Live approached the neighbour who said: “I’ve already spoken to the city council. Leave it to the council to sort out.”

A Council spokesperson said: “We have received a complaint that works are in breach of planning legislation.

“The matter is currently under investigation and officers are in discussions with both the owner and complainant.”

What would you do?

Image via Alamy