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Belgium-Netherlands swap
In this photo taken on Monday, Dec. 14, 2015, people walk past Dutch and Belgian flags on the waterfront in Eijsden, Netherlands. The town of Eijsden, in the Netherlands, has a short ferry which crosses the water to Lanaye, Belgium in a matter of minutes. While Belgium will be losing a splendid piece of nature that juts into the Meuse River dividing the two nations, it will also unburden itself of a jurisdictional nightmare that developed over time as the river meandered to turn the portion of land belonging to Belgium - about 15 soccer fields worth - into a peninsula linked only to the Netherlands. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

Belgium and the Netherlands changed their border to deal with an effectively lawless peninsula



Belgium and the Netherlands have swapped 48 total acres of territory while also adjusting their border, according to The Telegraph.

The Telegraph on Friday reported that the move occurred after a headless corpse was found on an effectively lawless peninsula between both nations.

The border was initially between the eastern Belgian region of Vise and the southwestern Dutch municipality of Eijsden.

The division was altered last Monday, changing the separating line to the middle of the Meuse River, which historically split the two countries.

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The Meuse’s changing course had meant that two uninhabited Belgian peninsulas ended up on the Dutch side of the river.

A slice of Dutch territory also found itself on the Belgian side of the river, complicating law enforcement for each nation.

One uninhabited peninsula had proved virtually impossible for Belgian authorities to police as they needed special permission to travel through Dutch territory.

The area became essentially lawless, reportedly becoming popular for drug dealing, prostitution and illegal raves.

A headless body was then found there in 2014, but the Dutch police it was reported to could not probe the matter as the crime happened on Belgian territory.

Belgian authorities were next forced to ferry investigators, labs and prosecutors to the peninsula, but the situation was complicated by the land lacking docking areas for boats.

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The peaceful trade of land – which equals 27 football fields – was ultimately agreed to last November.

The Netherlands will take control of 40 acres of Belgian land, while Belgium take four acres of Dutch soil.

Dutch authorities will now police the problematic peninsula, which Belgium relinquished to resolve its jurisdiction challenges.

Belgium in return gave the Netherlands new nature parks, a bargain which has been hailed as a diplomatic victory by both sides.

“The process has been carried out with harmony and with respect for one another,” Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders tweeted Wednesday. “Diplomacy at its best.”

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