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Permanent Court of International Justice

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Français

Sovereignty over Certain Frontier Land (Belgium v. Netherlands)

Overview of the case

The Court was asked to settle a dispute as to sovereignty over two plots of land situated in an area where the Belgo-Dutch frontier presented certain unusual features, as there had long been a number of enclaves formed by the Belgian commune of Baerle-Duc and the Netherlands commune of Baarle-Nassau. A Communal Minute drawn up between 1836 and 1841 attributed the plots to Baarle- Nassau, whereas a Descriptive Minute and map annexed to the Boundary Convention of 1843 attributed them to Baerle-Duc. The Netherlands maintained that the Boundary Convention recognized the existence of the status quo as determined by the Communal Minute, that the provision by which the two plots were attributed to Belgium was vitiated by an error, and that Netherlands sovereignty over the disputed plots had been established by the exercise of various acts of sovereignty since 1843. After considering the evidence produced, the Court, in a Judgment delivered on 20 June 1959, found that sovereignty over the two disputed plots belonged to Belgium.


This overview is provided for information only and in no way involves the responsibility of the Court.

Institution of proceedings

Special Agreement

27 November 1957
Available in:
English French

Written proceedings

Memorial of the Belgian Government
(French version only)

15 February 1958
Available in:
French

Counter-Memorial of the Dutch Government
(French version only)

30 June 1958
Available in:
French

Reply of the Belgian Government
(French version only)

24 November 1958
Available in:
French

Rejoinder of the Dutch Government
(French version only)

31 March 1959
Available in:
French

Oral proceedings

Verbatim record 1959/13

Minutes of the Public Hearings held at the Peace Palace, The Hague, from 27 April to 5 May and on 20 June 1959, the President, Mr. Klaestad, presiding
Available in:
Original Language

Other documents

Orders

Order of 12 December 1957

Fixing of time-limits: Memorial and Counter-Memorial
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Order of 27 May 1958

Extension of time-limit: Counter-Memorial
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Order of 1 July 1958

Fixing of time-limits: Reply and Rejoinder
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Judgments

Summaries of Judgments and Orders

Summary 1959/3

Summary of the Judgment of 20 June 1959
Available in:
English French

Press releases

Press release 1957/47

29 November 1957
The Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands files a special agreement by which the Netherlands and Belgium submit a dispute to the Court
Available in:
English French

Press release 1959/19

14 April 1959
Sovereignty over Certain Frontier Land - The hearings will begin on April 27th, 1959
Available in:
English French

Press release 1959/20

23 April 1959
Sovereignty over Certain Frontier Land - Representatives of the Parties at the hearings
Available in:
English French

Press release 1959/21

23 April 1959
Sovereignty over Certain Frontier Land - Hearing of April 27th, 1959
Available in:
English French

Press release 1959/22

28 April 1959
Sovereignty over Certain Frontier Land - Hearings of April 28th, 1959
Available in:
English French

Press release 1959/23

29 April 1959
Sovereignty over Certain Frontier Land - Hearings of April 29th, 1959
Available in:
English French

Press release 1959/24

1 May 1959
Sovereignty over Certain Frontier Land - Hearings of May 1st, 1959
Available in:
English French

Press release 1959/25

2 May 1959
Sovereignty over Certain Frontier Land - Hearing of May 2nd, 1959
Available in:
English French

Press release 1959/26

4 May 1959
Sovereignty over Certain Frontier Land - Hearing of May 4th, 1959
Available in:
English French

Press release 1959/27

5 May 1959
Sovereignty over Certain Frontier Land - Hearing of May 5th, 1959
Available in:
English French

Press release 1959/32

18 June 1959
Sovereignty over Certain Frontier Land - The Court will read its Judgment on Saturday, June 20th, 1959
Available in:
English French

Press release 1959/33

20 June 1959
Sovereignty over Certain Frontier Land - Judgment
Available in:
English French

Correspondence

Correspondence

26 November 1957
Correspondence
Available in:
English French