If you declare a nation that no other nation recognizes, is it still a nation? Such is the quandary of Vit Jedlicka, a Czech politician and founder of Liberland, a 3-square-mile speck of land between Croatia and Serbia that he plans to turn into a little dynamo of a country. If only the world will let him. Since he announced his grand plans, no other country has recognized Liberland, Croatia has threatened to arrest would-be settlers, and nearby residents interviewed by USA Today don't seem quite sure whether it's a joke. Jedlicka insists it's not, and says that more than 300,000 people around the world have applied for citizenship. (You can do so through the Liberland website.) "The key for us is to get recognized," says Jedlicka. "We're in contact with about 50 embassies."
The plan is to get a few countries, any countries, to recognize Liberland, and "the rest will fall into place." The rest, presumably, includes electricity, plumbing, and actual buildings, all of which Liberland now lacks, save for a lone abandoned house. But all is not bleak. "Even if the legal premise of Liberland is shaky, it is looking more and more like a legitimate state, thanks to its well-developed nation-branding," observes a post at Quartz. Liberland has a flag, a coat of arms, and a motto ("To live and let live"), and scores of volunteer artists are pitching in to flesh out the branding. One musician even created a national anthem. (Read more Liberland stories.)