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Neutral Territory of Moresnet

Half "Passport to Pimlico", half "the Mouse that roared" – entirely historical, and now completely Belgian! Just goes to show how educational a beer with lunch can be.

The beer was 3 Sténg, and in the compact space of the back label it explained how it had been brewed to celebrate a strange geographical feature: three boundary stones, where three countries came together. Except that for about a hundred years, there had been four countries meeting at that point.

The Congress of Vienna redrew the map of Europe. Possibly a bold move, but a lot of old habits were left unchanged; including, deep distrust of the neighbours. The new Kingdom of the Netherlands and the older territory of Prussia eyed each other with suspicion when it came to the zinc mine near their shared border, to the extent that a radical compromise was found: the area was not ceded to either of them, but set up instead as an independent area.

850 acres, or just over one square mile. Same size as the City of London, then: prejudice suggests I'd sooner be in Moresenet, but having skirted it en route for Aachen I think I'll settle for visiting the Territory before lunching in the City.