Lonely Planet Guide to Micronations
“The Republic of Molossia has a space programme, anti-discrimination legislation and the death penalty. Hutt River and Elleore have universities. Sealand received a diplomatic delegation from Germany. So why aren’t these self-declared nations considered ‘real’? Or are they? Why aren’t they admitted to the UN?” John Ryan, Micronations: The Lonely Planet Guide to Home-Made Nations (Lonely Planet, 2006)
Hundreds of micronations have been declared by individuals across the world. Sometimes referred to as model countries or new country projects, micronations are entities that claim to be independent nations or states but which are not recognized by world governments or by the UN. These nations often exist only on paper, on the Internet, or in the minds of their creators. Their territories range from small apartments to roving caravans, remote farms and disused oil rigs. Their founders’ motivations for declaring such micronations vary from a joke at a government’s expense to tax avoidance. The trappings of a nation state – stamps, passports, heads of state, national flag – are often used to establish an identify for the micronation.
The best known micronation is Sealand, founded in 1967 on an oil rig platform near the port of Felixstowe, Essex.
The Principality of Sealand remains the only operating, stationary, man-made nation in the world. Another well-known micronation, called Lovely, was set up in 2005 by comedian Danny Wallace in his London studio flat and he produced a BBC TV series about its formation and development.
Alex Hartley and the expedition team discounted the term micronation in the declaration of Nowhereisland, although it shares many of the same characteristics. The distinction is that Nowhereisland does not seek to emulate the institutional powers nor the trappings of a nation state. Rather, Nowhereisland can be perceived as a conceptual nation of citizens symbolized by the migrant island – a test site for collective ideas about the future of global citizenship.
Futurist writer Thomas Frey has written on the emergent practice of purchasing of islands, which are declared micronations. In his 2009 article for Futurist Magazine, ‘Seven Predictions for the Coming Age of Micronations’, he suggests, “These island countries will serve as real-world test sites for tinkering with governmental systems on a small scale. Unleashing the power of experimentation this way will give us a sense of humanity’s true potential.” Read the full article here
Nowhereisland can be seen as an experimental nation. Frey is particularly interested in uninhabited islands, with no indigenous population (like Nyskjaeret and Nowhereisland), and so are "blank slates" ready for reinvention and is insistent that they should seek international recognition to accumulate value. See the Art section for more details on other art projects which have set up as micronations.
Danny Wallace's 'How to start your own country'