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Behind me is Lake Constance.
It is a big lake, near the Alps, in the middle of Europe.
This bit of me is in Germany, and this bit of me,
on the other side of that sculpture, is in Switzerland.
...they took down the border fence and they replaced it with sculptures.
A few miles away behind me, over that horizon, is Austria.
And all three countries have a shoreline on Lake Constance.
And if you look at a map,
you will notice that something is missing:
the lines that denote where the international borders,
the lines that I'm standing on right now, stop at the lakeshore.
Lake Constance is a condominium,
which is a fancy way of saying that it belongs to more than one country.
But no-one is entirely sure who.
We are used to the idea that the Earth is divided up,
and different countries own different bits of it.
Which is kind of a strange idea when it's put like that,
but since most of the world agrees on it, we stick with it.
Laws, taxes, rights and responsibilities change at formal, defined lines.
Okay, there are international waters,
and Antarctica's a special case, and okay, there is that one bit of Africa
where two countries both don't want to claim it, but generally:
each bit of the world is owned by one particular nation.
And sure, sometimes borders get complicated because of treaty glitches or land disputes,
but this isn't one of those: it's just that no-one ever bothered
to actually put down in an international treaty where the borders are.
According to Austria, over there,
Lake Constance is a true condominium,
shared equally by all three countries all the way across.
If you're on the lake, you are simultaneously in Germany, and Austria, and Switzerland.
Switzerland is not happy with that:
according to them, the border runs straight down the middle of the lake.
And Germany is basically like, [shrug].
No-one really has a problem with this.
If there are any legal issues,
they're settled on a case-by-case basis.
So if you're wondering what happens if someone gives birth in the middle of the lake,
and what citizenship their kid would have,
or what would happen under salvage laws
if someone pulls up sunken treasure for the middle of the--
I mean, the answer is: [shrug].
We'll sort it out when we have to,
and in the meantime no-one's really going to mind.
The only people that this lack of defined border does affect are cartographers, map-makers:
there is no option on most digital maps for [shrug].
Computers and people don't know where to draw the line.