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After Brexit, A Tiny German Town Will Become the Center of the EU

Residents of the area thought the announcement was an April Fool’s joke

(Flodur63/Wikimedia Commons)
smithsonian.com

Located in the resplendent hills of Bavarian wine country, the village of Gadheim is home to just 89 people. This tiny town is too small to have its own mayor, but Gadheim may soon take on an important role in a major political entity, reports Tom Barfield of Agence France Presse. When Brexit is finalized in 2019, Gadheim will become the geographic center of the European Union.

The EU’s center shifts every time a country enters or leaves the bloc. According to Kate Connolly of The Guardian, the new heart of the EU was determined by French cartographers at IGN, a geographic engineering institute in Paris. The exact coordinates fall in the rapeseed field of one Karin Kessler, who tells Barfield that she will be quite happy to have the EU flag flying in her backyard. But she also opined that “the fact that it's only happening because of this Brexit is a bit of a shame.”

Perhaps no one was more surprised by the announcement of Gadheim’s new title than people living in the region. "We thought it was an April Fool's joke at first," Juergen Goetz, mayor of nearby Veitshoechheim, tells Barfield.

Being the center of the EU has its perks, as Brigitte Heim knows well. Heim is the mayor of Westerngrund, a slightly-less-tiny town to the northeast of Gadheim, which became the EU’s geographic center when Croatia joined the union in 2013. In an interview with The Guardian’s Connolly, Heim says that the designation brings 10,000 tourists to Westerngrund each year.

Gadheim’s residents haven’t yet decided how they will mark the newly anointed, EU-sanctioned spot in their village. They are currently brainstorming ideas in the town’s WhatsApp group.

About Brigit Katz

Brigit Katz is a freelance writer is based in Toronto. Her work has appeared in a number of publications, including NYmag.com, Flavorwire and Tina Brown Media's Women in the World.

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