Micronations may seem funny, but we should take them seriously
Find some unclaimed ground. Take one citizen, a government, an embassy, and a name – flag is optional. Go to the International Court of Justice and voila: you’ve got yourself a state. Micronations are everywhere – Europe alone has at least ten. And while these tiny countries may sound funny, according to senior lecturer Etienne Augé (Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication) we should take them very seriously.
Liberland, for example. A country of seven square kilometres on a strip of unclaimed land between Croatia and Serbia. Minimal regulation and minimal taxes, open to all as long as they’re tolerant to other people’s beliefs, respect private property, and aren’t criminals or related to terrorist organisations. 450 thousand people have already registered as citizens.
Or Sealand, based on a former oil platform in the North Sea. Usually it has about four residents max (estimate), but it even has its own national anthem and currency. And in the Netherlands, a group of people claimed 'Wonderland' on a strip of land six metres wide and 500 metres long, between the German and Dutch border.
It all may sound like a joke. But according to Etienne Augé, who specialises in propaganda, public relations, and public diplomacy (among other things), it’s not to be laughed at. ‘It might be funny at first. But instead of just laughing, we can also understand why they want to have their own nations and want to start their own system. Maybe it can make us consider ours. In the end we won’t find this funny, but maybe poetic or at least interesting’, he said to news show EenVandaag.
All countries were created
Besides, all countries were born at some point. And although not all micronations have a real shot at being recognised internationally (Wonderland, for example, was sort of wiped away by the adjacent Dutch municipality), Augé thinks Liberland might have a real chance. ‘I take Liberland as seriously as I take Liechtenstein. Also a really tiny nation in the heart of Europa, also a micronation. Nobody invaded them, nobody’s questioning their right to be an independent nation. Maybe we are witnessing something historical.’
Want to know more about Liberland and Etienne Augés' thoughts about it? Read this article (in Dutch).