Free Hans Island

Hans IslandIt is the year 2005 A.D. and a border dispute is brewing between Canada and Denmark over a 1.3 km² rock in the arctic. Both countries are members of NATO, but they had competing flag-raisings, flyovers by jets and even officials visiting Hans Island, an arctic island claimed by both countries. Hans Island is a barren rock in the center of the Kennedy Channel of Nares Strait, which is the strait that separates Ellesmere Island from northern Greenland and connects Baffin Bay with the Lincoln Sea. No one lives there, not even penguins.

Yet, this dispute is becoming a matter of national pride, and tempers flare:

For many years, the Canadian military has repeatedly invaded Danish territory, without any respect for international treaties or laws. Therefore, Canada must be excluded from NATO and the UN, and must be forced to give war reperations [sic] for the damages they have inflicted. Furthermore, the Canadian ministry of defence should be disbanded, and all Canadian military equipment should be handed over to Denmark.
Free Hans Island

Yeah, and check out Radio free Hans Island – they even post the “National Anthem” of an independent Hans Island.

The BBC carefully negotiates both points o view:

In 1984, a Danish minister, Tom Hoeyem, caused a stir when he visited the island and raised the Danish flag.

Mr Hoeyem also buried a bottle of brandy at the base of the flagpole and left a note saying welcome to Denmark.

The UPI news agency reported that Canadian troops landed on the island a week before Mr Graham’s visit, planted a Canadian flag and built an Inuit stone marker.

Reports say Canadian troops leave whiskey at the flagpole on their incursions.
Canada island visit angers Danes, BBC News, 25 July, 2005

Newsflash: the Danes now also claim the North Pole. They probably want to charge Santa Claus rent …

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