To Govern, or Not to Govern: Prussia, Neutral Moresnet

23 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2012

Date Written: June 29, 2010


From roughly 1815 to 1914, European diplomats struggled to come to terms with an area at the Prussian-Belgian border known as Kelmis. Upon finding that the Vienna Treaty did not address the territorial status of Kelmis, but rather left it unassigned to any state, Prussia and the Netherlands (later Belgium) both agreed to leave the area ungoverned. Prussia and the Netherlands' calculation was that leaving Kelmis unattached to any state would benefit them both economically. Yet, in this paper, I explore another aspect of the situation: the labyrinth of jurisdictional problems that arose out of an abandoned, stateless area with thousands of inhabitants.

Suggested Citation

Press, Steven, To Govern, or Not to Govern: Prussia, Neutral Moresnet (June 29, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Steven Press (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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