WHY DO WE NEED GRUNDSTÜCKE (LAND UNITS),
AND WHAT ARE THEY? ON THE DIFFICULTIES
OF DIVI NING A EUROPEAN CONCEPT OF “THING”
IN PROPERTY LAW

CHRISTIAN VON BAR,
Professor, University of Osnabrück (Germany)

DOI: 10.24031/1992-2043-2018-18-5-113-138

The article analyses one of the most fundamental but surprisingly difficult and contested
concepts of European property law: the notion(s) of land, immeuble, immovable, and
Grundstück. Grundstück and ownership in “land” are reciprocal ideas, with each depending
on the other. Grundstücke are constructs of the law and products of legal fantasy; they are
not natural entities. To describe them as “corporeal” things is as imprecise and incorrect
as the notion of “immovable” is. A piece of land (or land unit) is an item of property not
because it is “corporeal” but because the law creates its corpus. A Grundstück (equivalent
to the Estonian maatükk) is a “normative thing”. Therefore, the paper discusses why the
law needs Grundstücke (or their linguistic equivalents in other European languages), what
is requires for bringing them into existence, and what space they encompass.


Keywords: European private law; European property law; land; land units; Grundstücke;
immeubles; comparative property law; ownership in land; real things and normative
things; land registration.

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Information about the author

Von Bar C. (Osnabrück, Germany) – Professor, University of Osnabrück
(Germany).

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