On this day in 1995, the so-called Schengen Area was established in Europe, as an area without any border controls. Controls were abolished at the borders between Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal. The number of countries within the Schengen Area was later increased, and included over 25 states.
The countries which signed the Schengen Agreement in 1985 were the original ones to enter the Schengen Area. It is interesting that the Schengen Agreement is named after the small town of Schengen in Luxembourg, near which the Schengen Agreement was signed. The town of Schengen is located near the triple border of France, Luxembourg, and Germany. The Schengen Agreement was actually signed on the ship MS Princesse Marie-Astrid on the Moselle River, which flows through there.
Today the Schengen Area encompasses over 4 million square kilometers and is home to over 400 million people. It is interesting that some countries which aren’t members of the EU are also part of the Schengen Area – Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.