A piece of the Netherlands becomes a piece of Germany in the mid 60's. Why and how?

This bit of land at 51°49’57.4"N 6°21’49.5"E used to belong to the Netherlands; at least my old atlases and online older maps of the region show it so, up until the mid 1960’s. (You can find it in Dutch hands on this historical Netherlands map if you’re interested: http://www.topotijdreis.nl/)

Then, BAM, Highway 3 goes through, cuts off that bit of land, and suddenly that toe-shaped parcel to the southwest of the highway is a part of Germany! :eek:

Now, I admit there’s not much to the parcel. A square pond in the middle of it, a smaller pond at the far southwest end labelled the “mettmeer” if you zoom in close enough, and some cows standing around. It’s only about 55 acres in size.

But I’ve been unable to find any historical record of this border adjustment. I’ve poked around online at sites that claim to have all such european national border changes listed, yet to no avail. I would be interested in any info about this particular border shift, but also any such border shifts in western Europe after WW II. Anybody with any good leads to such data?

A bit of googling turned up this Google Books result in Dutch.

(I hope the link works but if not my search terms were “Mettmeer grens”.)

Interesting that a street to the south of it is named “Holländerdeich” - “Holland Dike”.

The Netherlands asked for a bunch of German land as reparations, under what was called the Bakker-Schut Plan. In 1949, the Netherlands was awarded some German land. After negotiations with West Germany, in 1963, they gave most of the land back to Germany, except for the nature preserve of Duivelsberg.

This happens in the US , last year part of SC moved to NC and part of NC moved to SC. They decided the maps were wrong for 200+ years.

It looks relevant. I can’t copy and paste the text for easy translation, so I’m doing it word by word. so far I have:

It makes sense mostly, though I’m not sure about the shining adders and hazelworms. :confused:

A fascinating book; I wish it was in English. Thanks for that.

I don’t think this territory was a part of the Bakker-Schut plan at all; that 55 acres had been part of the Netherlands on maps back to 1823.

The wildlife kinda comes out of nowhere. The rest of the page is about the development of a Europe-wide freeway system.

I would be surprised if this kind of deal doesn’t happen between states in the US. Geography and geology dictate the best route for a new highway, but it crosses and re-crosses a border, isolating sections of land. It makes sense to make the highway the border and swap whatever land is necessary to make sense.

In Europe, slow worms and adders are both protected species and the highway authority would have had to take account of their habitat and disrupt it as little as possible.

It would rarely happen in the States because the United States Constitution makes swapping territory a pain in the behindus endus.

The situation referenced above by Bijou Drains is different. South Carolina and North Carolina aren’t swapping anything. What they are doing is agreeing as to where the boundary between them really is, instead of continuing to accept the poorly surveyed, and in many cases long since inadvertently moved boundary everyone thought existed. This has the effect of causing some people who thought they were in one state to find out they are actually in the other.

Highways might isolate pieces of land as far as wildlife is concerned, but as far as humans are concerned, they do the opposite. And a highway that ran right down the border between two states would be an administrative nightmare.

Despite that, they do happen. You may remember a Geico commercial where the Gecko is on State Street in Bristol TN/VA. The middle of that street is the state line, as the Gecko points out.

Another example is in Delmar DE/MD and is also called State Street. It’s also State Highway 54 (same highway number in both states) and runs along the border for a ways east of that town.

Rarely? Just about every state border in the U.S. has a story like this behind it.

Pennsylvania and Maryland are right next to each other, and it’s not like they didn’t know about each other’s existence. And yet, somehow, they both picked different lines for their border between the two states. Originally, there weren’t many people living in the disputed area, so nobody cared. But over time, more people settled in that area, so you ended up with town that were right next to each other where one claimed to be in Maryland and the other in Pennsylvania. It got so heated that some folks would occasionally do things like grab a bunch of guns and take over the other town’s courthouse until they agreed that they were in the same state.

Pennsylvania and Maryland finally sat down and came to an agreement on the border. There had been so much dispute over the territory that they didn’t trust the local yahoos to survey the new line, so they hired the best experts in astronomy and surveying they could get from Europe, named Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon to survey the line. That’s why it is called the Mason-Dixon line.

The town I live in got its charter from Lord Baltimore, and was originally part of Maryland, but is now part of Pennsylvania.

Virginia and Pennsylvania had a similar issue. Pennsylvania claimed their border was a line that went straight west, and Virginia claimed their border was along a river. The problem was that when they finally started exploring the western side of the state, they found that the river turned north and crossed Pennsylvania’s line. Again, for a long time nobody cared, but once the area started getting settled it became a much bigger issue. Both states thought that it would be unfair for either state to get both Wheeling (the biggest gateway heading west at the time) and Fort Pitt (which eventually became Pittsburgh), so they drew a north-south line down the middle, and Virginia got the western side and Pennsylvania got the eastern side. And that’s where West Virginia’s goofy northern panhandle came from.

Then of course there was the dispute between Ohio and Michigan, leading to the Toledo War. Missouri and Iowa had a similar but lesser known dispute over the incorrectly surveyed Sullivan Line.

There are stories like this in just about every state. And not all of these disputes were resolved back in the 1700s and 1800s either. Georgia and Tennessee both currently claim a section of the Tennessee River, so there’s a small section of land there that may end up changing hands at some point. It’s a big issue now because Georgia has been going through droughts in recent years and needs the water access. Tennessee doesn’t want to give up the water, so they aren’t about to let go of their section of the disputed territory without a fight.

As Bijou Drains mentioned upthread, North and South Carolina re-surveyed their border recently and found errors, and some areas ended up changing states as a result. Some people ended up living in a different state as recently as 2017.

A lot of times, once a border marker of some sort has been laid down, both states will accept that marker even though it is later determined that the marker was placed incorrectly. Those old markers aren’t always accepted though, and sometimes the old markers no longer exist or have changed. For example, the border might be a river which moves over time due to erosion and such, or maybe the old markers were things like cut trees which eventually rotted away and disappeared, leaving no trace of where the border actually used to be located.

The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, a tourist line on the former D&RGW narrow gauge San Juan Line, is owned jointly by the states of Colorado and New Mexico. Tickets are no problem, being sold at the station on one end of the line or the other, but snack and souvenirs are sold on the train and it crosses the border between the two states eleven times. It was resolved by having New Mexico collect the tax when the train leaves Chama, NM and Colorado when it leaves Antonito, CO.

Thanks. In our area it’s Swainson’s hawks and giant garter snakes.

The name for the old style survey descriptions is metes and bounds. I just found that out recently. It’s interesting reading old deeds that describe a property’s boundaries as: bounded on the north by Weber’s property, on the east by Johnson’s property, on the south by County Road and on the west by the Township line. If you have access to a County Survey Map of around that decade that includes enough detail, you can calculate the location of the property. Otherwise, you hope that the descriptions in later deeds included at least one survey monument.

It makes sense that the colonies/young US used metes and bounds. Projects to install a network of survey monuments are expensive. And then the monuments have to be maintained.

Did you not read the entirety of my post? Agreeing to a mediated line between states is NOT the same as states swapping previously agreed-upon territory, a point I made very clear in my post. Next time, read what I say before answering.

Obviously, the highway snakes and worms its way through the countryside.

Oh, sure, you can have a boundary that runs right down the middle of a road. But you’d never change a boundary just specifically so it would run down a road, when it didn’t before: That’d be a lot of hassle for no benefit.

Kinda, but I was in a hurry and the reading comprehension part didn’t quite engage.

Feel free to point at me and laugh. Sorry.

Georgia really wants a chunk of Tennessee. The boundary is supposed to be the 35th parallel, but the surveyors set is about a mile south. Moving the border would give Atlanta access to the Tennessee river. Go get bent, is essentially Tennessee’s response:

NOT gonna happen.