Micronations are the tiniest of countries, claiming dominion over houses, bedrooms tiny islands, and even pinheads. They are a re-imagining of the traditional country, having no real land and no recognized borders. Here are even more micronations. Some are humorous. Some are earnest attempts at a Utopia. And Some are just weird.
Street art at Christiania, Copenhagen. Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.
Liberland – The Uninhabited Micronation
The Free Republic of Liberland is an unusual micronation with no residents, “occupying” a no-man’s land on a flood plain between Serbia and Croatia. Bizarrely, there may be some legal validity to this Micronation, arising from the unusual status of the land that it claims.The Republic of Liberland ostensibly occupies a parcel of land about 7 square kilometers in area, on the west bank of the Danube River.
For some strange reason, neither Serbia or Croatian have claimed this piece of land. Croatian says that it is part of Serbia and Serbia says it does not belong to it. So a libertarian politician from the Czech republic proclaimed a libertarian republic on the territory and claimed it in the name of Liberland in 2015. There is some dispute whether this is a publicity stunt or an earnest effort to create a real nation modeled on Libertarian ideals, perhaps even a Utopia.Incredibly, this tiny micronation has garnered a lot of serious attention.
Some Croatian legal experts have stated that the creation of Liberland threatens the larger Serbo-Croatian border dispute. At least two articles published in respectable legal journals have argued that this micronation should be accorded legal recognition under international law and even admitted to the United Nations.Nevertheless, this micronation has experienced difficulties right from the start, with its president and various officials being arrested and detained by Croatian authorities, making it difficult for this micronation’s citizens to actually reach their promised land.
Freetown Christiania – A Neighborhood Micronation
Although it was never officially recognized as a micronation, this enclave within the Danish capital city of Copenhagen exercised sovereignty over its territory in what can best be compared to a micronation or free city. It had a system of laws, and was until recently outside the authority of the Danish authorities.
This autonomous zone developed when a group of anarchists, hippies, drug users and outcasts from society occupied a former military barracks within the city in 1971. They set up as squatters and developed their own anarchist enclave where laws the few rules that applied where created by consensus. The 1000 or so residents lived as they pleased, and did not pay rent. One of the main streets was known as Pusher street where drugs were openly sold.The Danish government tolerated this independence for over 30 years. But in around 2009, after a series of incidents involving shootings and gang activity, the Danish government took steps to re-assert control. It began military patrols of the district and later forced the citizens to purchase the land they were squatting on.
Most Danish laws are now applied in the territory, although Christiania remains a Bohemian tourist attraction. The story of Christiania’s independence loss of independence has been repeated many times elsewhere, as promising micronations have been crushed by the superior resources of their neighbors, who tolerated no challenge to their territorial integrity.
Westarctica – The Frozen Micronation
The Grand Duchy of Westarctica claims a large part of Antarctica and has 2000 citizens, although none live in its cold dominion and most of them have never even set foot on the continent. Westarctica is arguably not a micronation because of the size of territory it claims. But it fits the pattern of the other micronations in that it has no real land base, exists mainly as a concept, and claims territory on the fringes of real countries.
This micronation, like many others, was set up to promote a cause. In this case, Westarctica aims to promote awareness of environmental issues and to promote the preservation of Antarctica’s natural beauty and wildlife.As such, Westartica has incorporated itself as tax exempt charitable corporation and enjoys non-consultative status with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs – NGO Branch. It also runs an online gift store and has a national choir.
Austenasia – The Micro Empire
The Empire of Austenasia is a micronation or more properly a micro-empire that has been conquering the world one house at a time.
It began in 2008 when its emperor declared his home in England an independent state and sent declarations of independence to his local governments. It has since expanded by acquiring more houses in Britain as well as in overseas territories such as the United States, all of which have been absorbed into the slowly growing Empire of Austenasia. Its declaration of independence by a single house calls to mind the Simpson’s episode where Homer does the same thing. Its population has also ballooned to 84 citizens.
Are Micronations the Future?
While the concept may seem strange, micronations are the natural outcome of a virtual world. Just as physical work environments such as offices and buildings are becoming obsolete, replaced by virtual work environments, so too nation states are becoming obsolete on both the micro and macro level. Increased communication allows transnational corporations to transcend borders and span continents, but it also allows for greater segmentation and the growth of communities separate from the main stream. As nation states struggle to adjust to the new reality, new models will come into being and it may just be that smaller is better.
And despite the fact that most micronations are ruled by wannabe autocrats, there is something inherently democratic about being able to secede from a country you do not agree with and form your own.