|National motto: Flenalöf Ai!|
|Ruling nations:||France and Rhineland-Palatinate|
|Area:||1.33 sq. miles|
|Established:||1871, Treaty of Frankfurt|
|Currency:||French livre, German Thaler, Moresneter Pond|
The Moresnet Condominium consists of a tiny wedge-shaped piece of land whose apex is the point where France, Germany, and Batavia come together. It was established *there* at the end of the Franco-Prussian War (not in 1815, as it was *here*). The name of the territory is /morɛne/ to the French, /morɛnɛt/ to the various Germanics.
Under the 1871 treaty, France lost its total control over the town of Middel-Moresnet and its valuable zinc mines. It was henceforth to share the space with Prussia. At the end of GW2, Prussia's role ended and the Rhineland-Palatinate, a republican German state, took over. The decision on Moresnet's final status was put to a local referendum. On the first ballot, keeping the status quo took first choice with slightly more than a third of the votes. Joining France took second and German third, each winning a bit less than a third of the votes. On the second ballot, the people voted to remain a neutral territory by a wide margin: all of the pro-German voters supported remaining a condominium rather than joining France.
In the late 19th century and again during the interwar years, Moresnet had showed some signs of movement toward thinking of itself as a "real" country: stamps, currency, a flag, coat of arms, even an anthem. This is also when Moresnet's Volapük motto, "Flenalöf Ai" (Friendship Ever), was introduced. Most of these had unofficial or semi-official status, and few people beyond a few local boosters were interested. Since the 1960s or so, this has changed. More "national" institutions have been put in place, and today most Moresneters are extremely proud of their status. The Commission on Very Small States has played an important role in the condominium's development since accepting it as a Permanent Observer in 1950.
MP: you could have had a scam developing over the years whereby wealthier *adults* (or at least those of conscriptable age) would have paid poor moresnet couples to adopt them in order to benefit from the country's neutrality. As the number grew, the consuls would probably apply pressure to make the process more arduous tough the local authorities might continue to turn a blind eye if it prove lucrative enough.
BK: Yes, the infamous adoption scandal of '36... one thirty-year-old Moresneter had registered some two dozen adoptions with the Burgomagisterial office before the foreign Consuls realized what was happening, and how widespread it had become. France and Prussia took a much more direct hand in Moresnet's governance after that; it was a blow to those who hoped it could become virtually independent someday.
That was 1936, by the way - people trying to avoid the draft in case of war. During the war Moresnet was occupied and administered as a part of Occupied France.
The nearest important city is Aachen on the German side, followed by Liège on the French. The Preuswald (Border Forest) straddles the border. Close to half of the condominium's area is protected forest land.
- East: Rhineland-Palatinate
- South and west: France (Province of Liège)
- North (shares the Four Country Point): Batavia (Duchy of Limburg)
The zinc mine has disappeared, but its shareholders invested wisely, and the company now is active in Europe and Africa. It remains an important employer, together with tourism and related industries.
The official languages are German and Francien. The local dialect is actually a form of Limburgish. The Duchy of Limburg's body for regulating Limburgish maintains an office in Moresnet for promoting the dialect.
Moresnet has no official religion. The predominant religion is Roman Rite Catholicism. The local parish is Our Lady of the Assumption. Roman Lutherans, Calvinists, Humanists, and the nonreligious also can be found here.
The heads of state are the presidents of France and the Rhineland-Palatinate, each of which is represented by a Consul. The head of government is the Burgomaster or mayor. Note that it is the Rhineland, not Germany itself, that is Moresnet's co-sovereign country. This separates it from other condominiums, like the Black Forest, where the German presence is mostly for show.
The Burgomaster is elected directly by Moresneter citizens. He must be approved by the Consuls. If the two consuls agree and act in concert, they have fairly wide-ranging veto powers. They actually did veto one or two mayoral elections in recent years on grounds of signs of corrupt behavior by the candidates in question.
Moresneter citizenship is not easy to get; both France and Germany have wanted to prevent situations where everyone gets citizenship there in order to avoid drafts and taxes.
The eagles reflect the symbols of Prussia and Napoleonic France, though they are missing such accoutrements as crowns, scepters, thunderbolts, and King Frederick's initials. When Moresnet was established, the Second Empire had already fallen. But Moresnet has always used the eagle symbol anyway because (1) at the time, it wasn't at all clear what was coming next in France; (2) France didn't adopt a proper coat of arms after the fall of the Empire, so this was the only alternative; (3) by the time the arms became official, Bonapartism was mostly gone in France, so the golden eagle wasn't as controversial as it might have been; and (4) probably most importantly, the two eagles make for nice symmetry.
Moresnet's arms consist of two shields - azure an eagle Or, and argent an eagle sable - placed side by side. They share a common crest, a hammer and pickaxe in saltire between three mullets, all Or. Around all this is a wreath of pine boughs, reflecting the forest that covers 45% of the condominium. The flag shows the two different eagles quartered, modeled on the flag of the Federated Kingdoms.
http://moresnet.nl/ - Website dedicated to the history of the condominium *here*