Liberland, officially called the Free Republic of Liberland, is a sovereign state that started on an unclaimed piece of land on the western part of the Danube River between Croatia and Serbia. Liberland was founded on 13 April 2015 by Czech libertarian activist Vít Jedlička.
Free Republic of Liberland
Motto: To live and let live
Location of Liberland
|Government||Provisional government chaired by the President|
|Vít Jedlička (founder)|
• Vice President
|Pierre Luis Boitel|
• Vice President
• Secretary of State
• Minister of Finance
• Minister of Foreign Affairs
• Minister of Interior
|13 April 2015|
|7 km2 (2.7 sq mi)|
The official Liberland website says the nation was created on no-man's land (terra ) that emerged because Croatia and Serbia have not been able to agree on their borders for over 25 years. This border dispute includes some areas to the east of the Danube which are claimed by both Serbia and Croatia. Croatia considers some areas on the west side of the river, including Liberland, to be part of Serbia, although Serbia no longer claims that land.
The land is under de facto administration by Croatia since the Croatian War of Independence  but Croatia has blocked people's access to Liberland since shortly after its founding. Croatia has also prevented Croatian citizens and other EU citizens from visiting the area. Before that, just about anyone could visit the area.
No country that is a member of the United Nations has recognized Liberland, although Liberland has opened official relations with Somaliland as well as other partially recognized and unrecognized states and micronations.
The border disagreement along the Danube River valley started in 1947 but was left unresolved during the existence of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The disagreement got bigger after Yugoslavia broke up. Serbia thinks the thalweg of the Danube valley and the center line of the river is the international border between the two countries. The Croatia government disagrees and claims that the international border lies along the old lines of the cadastral municipalities located along the river — as the Danube was in the 19th century before meandering and hydraulic engineering works altered its course. As a result, Croatia claims a large part of the area controlled by Serbia, while Serbia does not claim the smaller parts on the other side.
The area is about 7 square kilometres (2.7 sq mi), and most of it is covered with forests. A journalist from the Czech newspaper Parlamentní listy who visited the area in April 2015 found a house that had been abandoned for about thirty years, according to people living in the vicinity. The access road was reported to be in a bad condition.
The Danube River, an international waterway with free access to the Black Sea for several landlocked nations, runs along the self-proclaimed territory. Liberland visitors and citizens come to the area by boat from Apatin, Serbia and other ports and docks along the Danube River. Liberland keeps its ships the Bitcoin Freedom and the SS Liberty at the local marina and has bought land and buildings located in the Apatin Free Trade Zone.
The flag consists of a yellow background (symbolizing libertarianism) with a black horizontal stripe through the centre (symbolizing anarchy or rebellion) and the coat of arms in the centre. Jedlička is a member of the Czech Party of Free Citizens, which bases its values on the classical liberal ideology.
Jedlička stated that neither Serbia, Croatia nor any other nation claims the land (no-man's land or terra nullius). The border, he argued, was defined according to both Croatian and Serbian border claims and did not interfere with any other state's sovereignty. Jedlička said in April 2015 that an official diplomatic note would be sent to both Croatia and Serbia, and later to all other states, with a formal request for international recognition.
On 18 December 2015, President Jedlička presented the first provisional government of Liberland and its Ministers of Finance, Foreign Affairs, Interior and Justice as well as two vice presidents.[self-published source]
Access to LiberlandEdit
In May 2015, Vít Jedlička and his translator Sven Sambunjak were shortly detained by Croatian police after making an attempt to cross the border. Jedlička spent one night in jail and then was convicted and ordered to pay a penalty for illegal crossing of the Croatian border but appealed the verdict. He claimed that there were at least three Liberland citizens inside the area, who came from Switzerland. Later that month, Vít Jedlička was detained again. Initially, reporters were able to enter the area with Jedlička but subsequently they were also denied entry, including journalists from the Serbian public broadcast service Radio Television of Vojvodina, and from the Bosnian newspaper Dnevni Avaz.
The people arrested were from many countries, including Ireland, Germany, Denmark, and the US. Croatian police have continued arresting people, including those who entered the area by boat via the international waterway. One of them, a Danish activist Ulrik Grøssel Haagensen, was placed in house arrest for 5 days before being sentenced to 15 days of prison, triggering some protests in Denmark.
In May 2016, several appeals court decisions from Croatia were published. The court upheld the rulings that crossing into Liberland from Croatia is illegal, but found the convictions for entering Liberland from Serbia were not correct. The court said that the lower court committed "a fundamental breach of misdemeanor proceedings" and "essential procedural violations". It further ruled that "the facts were incorrectly and incompletely established [by the prosecutor] which could lead to misapplication of substantive law". A retrial was ordered in 6 of the 7 appeals. The lower court is required to determine the location of the border and the border crossing, but has not done this yet.[self-published source] Since that time, visitors have come the area in boats, but have not permanently settled the area.
Croatia and Serbia dismissed Jedlička's claims as not important, although the two countries reacted in different ways. On 24 April 2015, the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that while they consider the affair a trivial matter, the "new state" does not infringe upon the Serbian border, which they say is the Danube River. Croatia, which blocks people from accessing Liberland, has stated that after international arbitration, it should be awarded to Croatia or Serbia, not to a third party.
An article in the Chicago Journal of International Law, the law review of the University of Chicago Law School, examined Liberland's claim to statehood in light of the criteria laid out by the Montevideo Convention. According to the author, "Croatia’s insistence that Liberland is part of Serbia could constitute a renunciation of Croatia’s legal rights to Liberland. Conversely, if the territory that Liberland claims as its own is Serbian, the Serbian government’s renunciation of its title to that land could also be a quitclaim that would transform the legal status of the land to terra nullius. In both instances, the territory would belong to the first entity —in this case Liberland— to claim it.”
Legal experts in Serbia and Croatia have asked if, under international law, Jedlička has the right to claim the area, which is currently the subject of a dispute between the two nations but claimed by neither one. Journalists have been uncertain as to how serious Jedlička is about his claims, with some calling it a publicity stunt.
On 20 May 2015 Petr Mach, the leader of the Party of Free Citizens, expressed support for the creation of a state based on ideas of freedom, adding that the Party of Free Citizens wants the Czech Republic to become a similarly free country.
Goran Vojković, professor of law and columnist from the Croatian news portal Index.hr, described Liberland as a "circus which threatens Croatian territory", and argued that there was a risk that Croatia's claim to control land on the other side of the Danube may be weakened by the attention that the Liberland project has drawn to the border dispute.
In 2016, an article in Stratfor summarized the initiative as follows: "Liberland is a curious case because, in principle, none of the actors that could claim control over it seems interested in doing so. But this will probably remain a curiosity with negligible consequences at the international level. For the rest of the world's disputed territories, violence and diplomacy will remain the main tools to claim ownership.
According to its web page, Liberland is currently looking for those who have respect for other people and respect the opinions of others, regardless of their race, ethnicity, orientation, or religion, have respect for private ownership which is untouchable, and have not been punished for serious criminal offences. Liberland received 200,000 applications in a week. In the beginning of May 2015, Liberland accepted around thirty citizens. An event was supposed to take place in the claimed territory, but Croatian border police stopped the group from entering it from the Croatian side. As of October 2017, Liberland has awarded citizenship to between 300 and 400 people, to persons who have "helped move the country forward" or earned at least 5000 Merits. On February 16, 2018, former Congressman Ron Paul was presented with a Liberland passport and citizenship certificate by Jedlička and his cabinet.
Liberland also presents an Order of Merit award called the "First Class Order of Merit" to persons who have contributed to the development of Liberland or to the ideas of freedom. Recipients have included publisher Steve Forbes, economist Mark Skousen, Croatian Member of Parliament Ivan Pernar, and others.
The Liberland constitution has been drafted and revised several times. The draft consists of four chapters. It includes a Bill of Rights and regulates the public administration, the political institutions, the legislative power, and the judicial power.
There has been no diplomatic recognition of Liberland by any member of the United Nations. However, Liberland has established relations with Somaliland, a self-declared state that proclaimed its independence from Somalia in 1991. Liberland and Somaliland signed a Memorandum of Understanding in September 2017 promising to establish closer relations and cooperate in the areas of technology, energy and banking. 
Liberland President Jedlička and members of Liberland's provisional government make regular goodwill visits around the world to make the case for Liberland and to promote diplomatic and commercial ties to the project. In 2017, Jedlička met with U.S. Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Ben Sasse and the Democratic Shadow Senator from Washington, D.C. Paul Strauss as well as several other elected representatives in the United States. In February 2018, Jedlička and his U.S. team went to Washington, D.C. to meet with Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as well as Senator Lamar Alexander.
Liberland has also established relations with the region of Savoie (Savoy), an independent and self-governed territory from the 11th century until 1860, when it was annexed to France. Today, Savosian people are a minority in their own territory and their claims are not taken into account by the government of France. Liberland has also begun dialogue with the region of Brittany (Bretagne), among others.
Official statements from statesEdit
- Croatia: Liberland has been mentioned by the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs but publicly rejected as a joke. On 29 June 2015, the Croatian Ministry of Foreign affairs said that Gornja Siga's status is undetermined, but it is not terra nullius, and after international arbitration, it will be awarded to Croatia or Serbia, not to a third party. However, in a May 2016 letter to Interior Minister Vlaho Orepić, Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Miro Kovač referred to Liberland as "a provocative idea which has reached serious proportions" and that it "represents a risk to the Republic of Croatia." On 17 January 2017, Liberland was discussed and debated in the Croatian Parliament (Sabor) by Ivan Pernar of the Zivi Zid party.[self-published source]
- Serbia: The Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that Liberland does not infringe upon the border of Serbia, but the project is seen as a "non-important matter."
- Egypt: The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has warned people of the possibility of scams about Liberland directed at people looking for jobs abroad. "Egyptians should seek information from the Foreign Ministry rather than social media before travelling for work."
- Czech Republic: The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs disassociated itself from the activities of Mr. Jedlička, stating it has nothing to do with them. The ministry added that "Mr. Jedlička, as well as other Czech citizens staying in the territory of Croatia or Serbia, is obliged to abide by the local legal code. The Czech Republic considers the activities of Mr. Jedlička inappropriate and potentially harmful." Through the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Zagreb, it warned that the "efforts to create some new 'state' have no basis in international law," and that "in the territory of Croatia, citizens of the Czech Republic as well as other foreigners are obliged to adhere to the Croatian legal code, including the current regime on the Croatian-Serbian border. Crossing the Croatian border (i.e., the external border of the European Union) outside specified border crossings, as it is done by travelers to the so-called Liberland, is in clear violation of the code."
- Poland: On 24 July 2016, 7 members of Polish Parliament (Sejm) from Kukiz'15 in cooperation with local Liberland activists asked Minister of Foreign Affairs Witold Waszczykowski when Poland would recognize the Free Republic of Liberland as an independent state.[self-published source], with a follow-up in August. The reply was that Liberland doesn't meet the criteria for statehood.
Support from political partiesEdit
Since 2015, several minor freedom parties expressed support for the creation of Liberland. They are the Capitalist Party in Norway, the Libertarian Party (Spain), The Swiss Independence Party up! (Unabhängigkeitspartei), the Liberal Democratic Party (Turkey) (LDP) the Libertarian Party of Canada, the Libertarian Party (United States) and the UK Libertarian Party.
Statements from other micronation projectsEdit
A few micronations have expressed support for the idea of Liberland.
- The Kingdom of North Sudan, which claims the Bir Tawil area on the border between Egypt and Sudan, has recognized Liberland.
- The Kingdom of Enclava, which claims part of the disputed pocket north of Liberland, has recognized Liberland.
- The Principality of Sealand has indicated their support for Liberland.
Statements from organizationsEdit
- On 16 April 2017 Bitnation has announced a partnership with Liberland.
- On 20 April 2017 Liberland applied for admission to the UNPO. The application was officially presented and defended a month later in Brussels, Belgium. In June 2017, a delegation from Liberland was invited to observe the proceedings of the 13th General Assembly during which the President and members of the presidency were elected.[self-published source]
- On 25 April 2018, Liberland signed a bilateral recognition agreement with IIMSAM, an Intergovernmental Observer to the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
- "Free and Fair - Liberland National Anthem". YouTube.
- Quito, Anne. "The world's newest micro-nation is already a leader in nation branding". Quartz. Retrieved 2016-06-09.
- "Liberland.org – About Liberland". liberland.org. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
- "Liberland.org - About Liberland". liberland.org.
- "The country recently named Thomas Walls, a U.S. citizen, as its foreign minister". The Washington Post. 22 January 2017. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
- "Jedličkův Liberland má novou měnu i první firmu v rejstříku, občanství chce 87 tisíc lidí". Aktuálně.cz - Víte co se právě děje. Retrieved 2016-06-09.
- Nolan, Daniel (25 April 2015). "Welcome to Liberland: Europe's Newest State". Vice News. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
- "Balkans: Czech man claims to establish 'new state'". BBC News. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
- Martínek, Jan (15 April 2015). "Člen Svobodných vyhlásil na území bývalé Jugoslávie vlastní stát" (in Czech). Novinky.cz. Právo. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
- "Čech si medzi Srbskom a Chorvátskom založil vlastný štát" (in Slovak). sme.sk. TASR. 15 April 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
- Klemenčić, Mladen; Schofield, Clive H. (2001). War and Peace on the Danube: The Evolution of the Croatia-Serbia Boundary. Durham, England: International Boundaries Research Unit. p. 19. ISBN 9781897643419.
- Panenka, Radim (20 April 2015). "Navštívili jsme nový stát Liberland, který v Evropě založil Čech Vít Jedlička. Podívejte se, jak to tam vypadá" (in Czech). Parlamentní Listy. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
- "Slavonia and Liberland at 3: Hopelessness versus Hope". www.total-croatia-news.com. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
- ApaOne, Marketing agencija. "Slobodna zona Apatin,investirajte u Opštinu Apatin". www.freezoneapatin.com (in Serbian). Retrieved 2020-06-30.
- Koulová, Zuzana (15 April 2015). "On to myslí vážně! Vít Jedlička, zakladatel nového státu Liberland, promluvil. Zavádí elektřinu, internet, všechno. A lidé se k němu hrnou" (in Czech). Parlamentní Listy. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
- "CZ: Liberland" (in Czech). Medium Europe. 15 April 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
- "Meet the man who is setting up a new country in the middle of Europe". The Independent. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
- "Twitter". mobile.twitter.com. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Čeh proglasio državu između Srbije i Hrvatske" (in Serbian). B92. BETA. 15 April 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
- "Government announcement". liberland.org. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
- "Police in the Balkans block inauguration of Europe's new "mini-state"". Associated Press. 9 May 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
- Ristić, Borislav (11 May 2015). "Putovanje u Liberland zasad stoji 2400 kuna – tolika je kazna za ilegalni prijelaz granice" (in Croatian). Večernji List. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
- Getto, Ivica (11 May 2015). "Osnivač Liberlanda kažnjen s 2400 kuna za ilegalni prelazak hrvatske granice" (in Croatian). Glas Slavonije. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
- Wirnitzer, Jan (11 May 2015). "Jedličkova bitva u Moháče. Všichni nám tu fandí, říká tvůrce Liberlandu" (in Czech). iDnes. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
- Ristić, Borislav (9 May 2015). "Vid Jedlička uhićen nakon ulaska na teritorij Liberlanda" (in Croatian). Večernji List. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
- Třeček, Čeněk; Sedlářová, Barbora (10 May 2015). "Chorvatsko zatklo "prezidenta" Liberlandu. Bylo to přátelské, tvrdí Čech" (in Czech). iDnes. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
- Hayden, Sally (11 May 2015). "President of Liberland Arrested for Trespassing into His Own Self-Declared Country". Vice News. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
- "Croatia: Liberland's president arrested again". inSerbia. 17 May 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
- Spasojević, Vesna (17 April 2015). "Liberlend, zemlja koje – nema" (in Serbian). Radio Televizija Vojvodine. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
- Trako, Evelin (26 April 2015). "POTRAGA ZA LIBERLANDOM Reporteri "Avaza" na ničijoj zemlji između Srbije i Hrvatske" (in Bosnian). Dnevni Avaz. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
- "Igrali odbojku na 'plaži u Liberlandu' pa ih uhitila hrvatska policija - Večernji.hr". Vecernji.hr. 13 June 2015. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
- Bradarić, Branimir (20 June 2015). "Liberland optužuje Hrvatsku za invaziju" (in Croatian). Večernji List. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
- Hayden, Sally (19 June 2015). "Liberland Accuses Croatia of Invasion and Releases Video of 'Citizen' Abduction". Vice. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
- Fax: 33141000, Rådhuspladsen 37 1785 København V. Telefon: 33111313. "Dansk mand anholdt efter indtrængen i 'Ingenmandsland'". ekstrabladet.dk.
- "Hvorfor sidder danske Ulrik i et mørkt fangehul på Balkan?". FOLKETS.DK.
- "Liberland Wins Appeals! Lower Courts "Committed a Fundamental Breach" and "Must Rule On Border" | Liberland Press". Liberland Press. 2016-05-02. Retrieved 2016-05-04.
- McKirdy, Euan (25 April 2015). "Liberland: Could the world's newest micronation get off the ground?". CNN. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
- "Mađarska - MVEP • On Virtual Narratives at Croatia's Borders". hu.mvep.hr. Retrieved 2016-06-09.
- Rossman, Gabriel (2016) "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (But Still So Far): Assessing Liberland’s Claim of Statehood," Chicago Journal of International Law: Vol. 17: No. 1, Article 10. URL: http://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/cjil/vol17/iss1/10
- "Croatian police question Czech leader of wannabe country 'Liberland'". 10 May 2015. Archived from the original on 26 January 2016. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
- "Liberland's leader detained while trying to enter the country he just invented". 11 May 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- Simone, Alina (29 June 2015). "On the Danube, the world's newest micro-nation. But Liberland has a problem". Retrieved 18 July 2015.
- "Man forms own European country and more than 160,000 people want citzenship [sic] – trouble is, you can't get in". 11 May 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- "Petr Mach | ParlamentniListy.cz – politika ze všech stran". Parlamentnilisty.cz. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
- Vojković, Goran (12 May 2015). "Liberland je Srbija!" (in Croatian). index.hr. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
- "Introducing Liberland, Europe's Newest Country". stratfor.com. Stratfor. 25 September 2016. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
- Nolan, Daniel (24 April 2015). "Liberland: hundreds of thousands apply to live in world's newest 'country'". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
In the week since Liberland announced its creation and invited prospective residents to join the project, they have received about 200,000 citizenship applications – one every three seconds – from almost every country in the world.
- "Dr. Ron Paul receives his passport from the Free Republic of Liberland | Liberland Press". Liberland Press. 2018-02-20. Retrieved 2018-03-02.
- "Liberland.org - Constitution". liberland.org. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
- "Somaliland says it wants closer cooperation with unrecognised Liberland". BBC News. 26 September 2017. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
- "The Free Republic of Liberland has successfully begun the mutual recognition process with the Republic of Somaliland". Somaliland Informer. 27 September 2017. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
- "FOTO Českého prezidenta přijali ve Washingtonu. A to se mu dříve smáli..." page-maintitle-short-default. Retrieved 2017-10-12.
- "Liberland : « Vit Jedlicka n'est donc pas un utopiste, c'est bien un homme de communication, entièrement dévoué à son projet d'enclave ultra-libérale. » | Le cercle des liberaux". www.lecercledesliberaux.com (in French). Retrieved 2017-10-12. no-break space character in
|title=at position 14 (help)
- "The future of Liberland". viribusnews.com. 6 December 2018. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
- Tešija, Jelena (23 April 2015). "Svjetski mediji dosta ozbiljno shvaćaju onog tipa koji pokušava osnovati mikrodržavu na Dunavu". Telegram (in Croatian). Retrieved 23 April 2015.
- "Liberland Discussed And Defended In Croatian Parliament". liberlandpress.com. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
- Fayed, Hanan (23 April 2015). "Foreign Min. warns Egyptians against emigrating to Liberland". The Cairo Post. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
- "Prohlášení MZV ke kauze tzv. Liberlandu". www.mzv.cz. May 14, 2015. Retrieved 2016-06-08.
- "Upozornění Velvyslanectví ČR k cestám do tzv. "Liberlandu"" (in Czech). Velvyslanectví České republiky v Záhřebu (Embassy of the Czech Republic in Zagreb). 15 May 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
- "Seven members of Polish Parliament proposed the recognition of Liberland". liberlandpress.com. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
- "Interpelacja nr 4903. Do ministra spraw zagranicznych. W sprawie notyfikowania uznania niepodległości Wolnej Republiki Liberlandu" [Interpellation No. 4903. To the Minister of Foreign Affairs. On the notification of recognition of the independence of the Free Republic of Liberland]. sejm.gov.pl (in Polish). 22 August 2016.
- "Odpowiedź na interpelację ponowną nr 4903. W sprawie notyfikowania uznania niepodległości Wolnej Republiki Liberlandu" [Answer to the second question, No. 4903. On the notification of recognition of the independence of the Free Republic of Liberia]. sejm.gov.pl (in Polish). 26 September 2016.
- "Liberalistene med første landsmøte" (in Norwegian). Capitalist Party. 12 May 2015. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
- "El P-LIB, con la República Libre de Liberland | P-LIB | Partido Libertario". P-lib.es. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
- "up! fordert die Anerkennung der Freien Republik Liberland – up!schweiz". up-schweiz.ch. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
- "Habertürk – Captioned". Dotsub. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
- "The Kingdom of North Sudan recognized the Liberland". Kingdom of North Sudan News Channel. 20 April 2015.
- "Introducing Liberland, Europe's Newest Country". www.stratfor.com. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
- "About – enclava.org". enclava.org. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
- "Liberland's Claim To Independence". www.sealandgov.org. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
- Vickery, Nate (2016-08-17). "The Green Nation of Liberland: Plausible or Far Fetched – TechMalak". TechMalak. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
- Bitnation. "Bitnation Pangea". Bitnation Pangea.
- "Liberland Applies for the UNPO Membership | Liberland Press". Liberland Press. 2017-07-14. Retrieved 2017-12-27.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Liberland.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide about: Liberland|
- Official website, in English and Czech
- Interview with founder Vít Jedlička (in Czech)
- InSerbia article (in English)
- Welcome to Liberland, the World’s Newest Country (Maybe) (in English)
- Documentary film about Liberland – "This No Man’s Land Of Mine"
- Sovereign state