Norway Wants to Give Finland a Mountain for Its Birthday

Carsten Frenzl, Flickr
Carsten Frenzl, Flickr / Carsten Frenzl, Flickr

In a move that may have you reassessing the greatest gift you received this holiday season, Bjørn Geirr Harsson, formerly of the Norwegian Mapping Authority, is spearheading a Facebook campaign to convince Norway’s government to give their neighbors in Finland a mountain in honor of the 100th anniversary of the country's independence.

If Harsson’s campaign is successful, the border between Norway and Finland will be shifted 490 feet to the north and 650 feet to the east, which will place the peak of the 4479-foot-tall Halti mountain firmly within Finland’s borders. Though far from the tallest mountain in Norway (Galdhøpiggen reaches 8100 feet above sea level), Halti would be Finland’s highest point—an honor that currently belongs to the 4340-foot fall Hálditšohkka, one of Halti’s lower spurs.

“It would not change the square kilometer size of Norway or Finland,” Harsson told The Telegraph—indeed, Norway’s size would shrink by only 0.015 square kilometers—“But it would make a big difference that the highest point in Finland would be on a mountain peak and not on a hillside … In general I would say that the Finnish people have a high regard for Norway and I would expect most Norwegians to support this.”

Anne Cathrine Frøstrup, head of the Norwegian Mapping Authority, supports Harsson’s idea, saying that the Halti “is a nice gift to give a country that lacks a high mountain, where the highest point isn’t even a peak.” Still, it’s not as easy as just putting a bow on the mountain and handing it over; Markku Markkula of the Land Survey of Finland told a Finnish newspaper that “it would be a question of an agreement between the two countries.”

There is some time to hammer out the details, though, as Finland’s 100th anniversary of independence isn’t until 2017.