Norway Wants to Give Finland a Mountain for Its Birthday
A generous, albeit rocky, gift.
Image via Flickr user Pete
Happy birthday, have a mountaintop. That’s what a Norwegian campaign is hoping to say to Finland, on the occasion of the latter’s 100th birthday in late 2016.
The idea is the brainchild of Bjørn Geirr Harsson, former chief engineer of the Norwegian Mapping Authority. It came to him, The Atlantic reports, as he surveyed the Norway-Finland border back in 1972. Halti is the highest mountain range in Finland, but its peak, called Hálditšohkka, is technically located in Norway.
“We would not have to give away any part of Norway,” Harsson explained to the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK. “It would barely be noticeable. And I’m sure the Finns would greatly appreciate getting it.”
The Halti summit. Image via Flickr user Ilkka Harmanen
Harsson’s idea has taken off online, where the Facebook group “Halti as an anniversary gift” has more than 11,000 likes. Sondre Lund, the 25-year-old Norwegian who created the group earlier this month, told The Atlantic that people found the proposal “amusing.”
“Supporters like the idea of doing something nice for Finland, and point out that Norway has got plenty of mountaintops,” Lund said. “Some people have noted how it is a bit sad to walk downwards to Finland’s highest point if you come from the Norwegian side.”
The plan has even been given a stamp of approval from the current head of the Norwegian Mapping Authority (who also got in a dig about Finland’s tragic lack of peaks). “I must say that I think it’s a very good idea,” Mapping head Anne Cathrine Frøstrup wrote to Harsson when he pitched her the idea over email. “It is a nice gift to give to a country that lacks a high mountain, where the highest point isn’t even a peak.”
Whether the very large gift exchange goes through depends on agreements between the two governments. But the Finnish embassy in Oslo has at least acknowledged the pending offer on Twitter, so you know it’s real.