Disembarking the Liberty houseboat moored off the frontier of the European Union, we’re met by a pair of Serbian police officers, their lit squad car nearly blinding us in the dark forest.
“How many people are staying on the boat?” one asks, holding a large dog at bay. “I really don’t recall,” says my colleague from Reuters. Fortunately, they let us go.
We must run, using phone lights to navigate the muddy path to the rally point a bit further in Croatia, in hopes that the departing presidential convoy has not left us behind.
We are meters from the border of Liberland, an unrecognized micronation of crypto fans claiming a piece of land between Croatia and Serbia on the Danube river. At just seven square kilometers — 2.7 square miles — the piece of land is roughly the size of Gibraltar.
Liberland “president” Vít Jedlička explains it had not officially been claimed by either neighboring country, making it terra nullius — nobody’s land — when he planted a flag there on April 13, 2015.
Though neither permanent infrastructure nor habitation has been established, the project has attracted a sizable community of Libertarian-minded folk. The de facto home in exile in Liberland is Ark Liberty Village, a nearby campground on the Serbian side.
It’s here that Magazine attends Floating Man, a Liberland festival including wilderness and water survival training, music, a two-day blockchain conference, and a daring visit to Gornja Siga, also called Liberland. Getting into the independent state is going to be tricky, says Jedlička.
“It’s good to get in and out of Liberland without being beat up.”
Breaking into Liberland
As the conference concludes, the president takes the stage in front of a huge Liberland flag, pointing out the borders of Croatia and Hungary and the best ways to cross into the micronation on the map.
The route straight into Croatia to access the Danube is fastest, but most perilous — the border police know about our gathering and are expecting an incursion and, as such, are likely to prevent suspicious vehicles from entering. Flags, stickers or even Liberland-branded beer are a no-go at the crossing, as they will be confiscated, he explains.
Entering the Schengen area through Hungary is more certain, with the Hungarians being indifferent to Liberland, making it possible to drive…