Het vergeten land van Moresnet
Het vergeten land van Moresnet
IDFA 1990

Het vergeten land van Moresnet

Fred Dijs
48 min
Festival history
After Napoleon's downfall, Europe was divided by the great powers. One area with a zinc-quarry, between Holland, Germany and Belgium, was an item of discussion, and the superpowers decided to leave this territory 'neutral' for the time being. From 1816 till 1919, Neutral Moresnet was the official name for this tiny spot on the map. This area of 344 hectares with the 'promising' zinc-quarry called the Altenberg was the basis for one of the largest zinc-factories in the world: the Vieille Montagne. But the zinc-mine got worked-out and the area became a refuge for adventurers and idealists. The company doctor of the Altenberg conceived the plan to make Moresnet the first Esperanto-state of the world. The territory would be called Amikejo, which means 'land of friends' in Esperanto. The documents for the legalization of this plan are still with 'Kulturinspector' Pauquet. Moresnet disappeared from the map at the Treaty of Versailles, at the end of World War I.
Director Fred Dijs returns to this forgotten area and meets a number of old men who cannot part with the history of Moresnet. Martin Rocks, a former miner of the zincquarry, walks along the stray boundary-stones of the small land and between the few remains of the mine. Rocks is the last person who can tell what happened behind the bricked-up entrance of the Altenberg. His neighbour opposite, Guy Mergelsberg, is unilaterally retarded. For years, he has collected all the photographs of the area.
The members of the miners' association no longer hold their functions but do celebrate its 95th anniversary. The light orchestra from the old days still plays the hymn of Amikejo. Het Vergeten Land Van Moresnet is a film about old people and the past that will soon die with them.