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Eupen-Malmedy, or the East Cantons is a group of cantons in Belgium. They are the former Prussian districts of Malmedy and Eupen, together with the Neutral Moresnet. French-speaking Belgians also once called them the Redeemed Cantons. These territories were added to Belgium in 1920 by the Versailles Treaty.

Eupen Malmedy border changes between 1920 and 1945

Chronology[change | change source]

  • 6 March 1815 : Malmedy part of Prussia (from 1871 Germany).
  • 1918 - 1920 : Under Allied occupation (British to Aug 1919, then Belgian).
  • 28 June 1919 : Given to Belgium by Germany under Treaty of Versailles.
  • 20 September 1920 : Eupen, Malmedy and Sankt-Vith added (fully re-incorporated 1925).
  • 1926 The Belgian government wants to "sell" the East Cantons to the Weimar Republic. France objects strongly.
  • 29 July 1940 - Feb 1945 : Eupen, Malmedy and Sankt-Vith are added to Germany, together with the Luxembourg village of Bého (renamed Bocholz) and former Neutral Moresnet.
  • 1956 Belgo-German peace treaty. The Federal Republic of Germany recognizes the illegality of the 1940 annexation.
  • 1960-1964 The Belgian language border is fixed and finally divides the East Cantons. Eupen, Sankt Vith and others become German-speaking with special privileges for French speakers, Malmedy and Waimes join Aubel, Welkenraedt, Bleiberg and Baelen as French-speaking with (potential) special privileges for German speakers.
  • 18 July 1966 Belgian law on the language use by local and national government. The "region of the German language" is mentioned. Federal Government services to answer German questions from a member of the general public in German.
  • 1973 The Rat der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft is set up.
  • 1989 New amnesty law, undoing the legal effects of the annexation and its voiding.
  • 1993 The Executive of the Rat der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft is recognized as one of the Belgian regional governments in the new federal constitution. The German-speaking area remains a part of the Walloon economic area.
  • 2005 The authority of the Rat is increased by giving it the right of teaching over religious institutions and over its nine communities.