The center of the European Union has shifted.
A red-and-white pole in a non-descript German field outside Gadheim, a village of 80 people, marks the geographic center of the EU now that Britain has officially left. The location is near the city of Querzburg and the municipality of Veitshoechheim.
Gadheim takes over the spot from another municipality in the north of the Bavarian region.
France’s national cartographic institute, IGN, calculates Europe’s geographic center, which has shifted as new countries have joined the EU — most recently in 2013, when Croatia became a member of the EU.
Veitshoechheim Mayor Juergen Goetz said when he first heard about IGN’s calculation in March 2017, “I thought it was an April Fool’s joke, an early one.”
After conferring with local officials Goetz decided to get the new center point ready “and, if Brexit hadn’t happened, we would have made a monument for the unity of Europe out of this point.”
The results are bittersweet, he said.
“On the one hand, of course I am proud and happy that we are becoming the new geographical center of Europe,” Goetz said. “On the other hand, of course it’s a sad occasion, because with Britain a country is leaving the EU for the first time.”
Britain officially left the EU Friday night after 47 years of membership and 2.5 years after a public referendum vote to depart the political and economic union, which now has 27 member states.