Enclave H17 was assigned to Belgium only in 1959. The Belgian cattle merchant Sooi Van den Eynde bought nine supposedly Dutch houses in 1953. Read more
local name: Moleriet Heide
Origin: disputed area until ruling by the International Court of Justice (The Hague) of 1959
Number of residents: 32 (17 Oct. 2016)
Surface: 149.248 m²
Circumference: 2,503 km
Enclave H17 was assigned to Belgium only in 1959. The Belgian cattle merchant Sooi Van den Eynde bought nine supposedly Dutch houses in 1953. As he was sure his properties to be on Belgian territory, he applied Belgian rental prices, which at the time were much higher than Dutch rental prices. He persisted with all means possible to bring his land dispute to court: he refuses to pay import duties, plants offensive signs addressed to the Dutch mayor and returns the Dutch house number signs to the Dutch town hall. He paralyzes traffic by blocking the road with three single-handed sawed trees, kills the chickens from one of his tenants, throws an entire household out on the street and in addition rents the house concerned to casino owners.
Eventually the land dispute is taken to trial. The International Court of Justice in the Hague finally decided in favor of Sooi. It turns out an error was made in 1843 when the nationality of Sooi’s parcels were copied.
“Het Bels Lijntje” – the Belgian Line – which nowadays is a bike lane, used to be a railway and crosses the middle of H17 from north to south.