How the Complicated Borders of Europe Formed From the Peace of Westphalia Treaties in 1648

In the latest episode of Things You May Not Know, host Tom Scott (previously), standing on the border between Baarle-Nassau in the Netherlands and Baarle-Hertog in Belgium, talks about how the complicated borders of Europe (and most of the world) are all the result of the Peace of Westphalia, a series of treaties signed in 1648 after the Thirty Years’ War. The treaties didn’t necessarily bring peace, but did bring about the right of nations to self-determination.

Yes, plenty of folks already know about the most complicated borders in Europe, in Baarle-Nassau (the Netherlands) and Baarle-Hertog (Belgium). But why did we end up with this particular system? Why do we have nations in the first place? Most historians would say it goes back to something called the Peace of Westphalia, many years ago…

Scott’s friend, Dan W recently wrote a really interesting and informative blog post about the Baarle-Nassau/Baarle-Hertog border that included some amazing photos.




photos via Dan W

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.