Border: Belgium-United Kingdom

Border: Belgium-United Kingdom

Date(s) of establishment: 1839
Length of border: maritime border
Regions concerned: United Kingdom – Counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent
Belgium – Provinces of West Flanders, East Flanders and Anvers

European programme(s):

The border between Belgium and the United Kindgom is a maritime border. As the crow flies, the two closest coastal towns (Ramsgate in the UK and Oostende in Belgium) are 105 km apart.

As an island country, the United Kingdom has experienced very few territorial changes. Belgium, after obtaining its independence from Austria, France, and lastly the Netherlands, was recognised as a free state in the Treaty of London of 1839, which can be said to mark the establishment of the border.

Cross-border cooperation

Belgium and the United Kingdom both participate in the “Two Seas,” “North-West Europe” and “North Sea Region” Interreg programmes. The North Sea is a very important resource for these two countries and the programmes concerned encourage support for joint maritime activities, tourism, protection of the environment, and the exploitation of renewable energies (particularly suitable for the strong currents in this maritime space).

The “North-West Europe” Interreg programme is focused on the competitiveness of the zone, with main topics such as innovation, ICT, and sustainable urban development – a major challenge in this densely populated region.

At a more local level, the province of West Flanders fosters links with the Suffolk City Council, and in the mid-1990s, the two partners signed a cooperation agreement. They carry out joint activities in the fields such as the economy, education, and culture. Today, West Flanders aims to strengthen its ties with other British coastal counties, such as Kent, Essex and Norfolk.