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Strange but true…

May 27, 2020
Image caption:
Absurd border dispute due to glacier melt: this Italian refuge is now on Swiss soil. (c) wikimedia, Franco56

An Italian mountain hut has involuntarily become Swiss – all thanks to climate change. A melting glacier in the Valais Alps is changing the course of the border between Switzerland and Italy. This is why two thirds of the Italian Rifugio Guide del Cervino is now actually located in Switzerland, which has led to lively discussions between the representatives of the border commission for the two countries. The bone of contention is the crest line. i.e. the line from which the water of the glacier flows on both sides and which has marked the border since the 19th century. At an altitude of almost 3,500 metres – the location of the Italian refuge – the melting of the glacier has caused the crest line to shift towards Switzerland. This was established by the Swiss Federal Office of Topography, so a proposal for an exchange was made: the “new” Swiss soil should be left to the Italians so their hut could remain on Italian territory, while in return the Swiss would be given 650 square metres of land at another, more distant point on the border with Italy. However, the Italian head of the border commission argues that the hut itself has not moved and will therefore remain in Italy – so there is no reason to give land away. The next meeting of the border commission will take place in May. An absurd dispute that, with a little patience, will be resolved by the end of the century – because by then, at the latest, all the glaciers in the Alps will have melted for good.

Sources: (de)

Filed under: alpMedia 4/2020