Tags: norway | finland | mountain | halti | anniversary

Norway, Finland Mountain: Happy Anniversary! Here, Have This Peak

Image: Norway, Finland Mountain: Happy Anniversary! Here, Have This Peak
In this Aug. 2008 file photo, a general view of the Halti mountain, on the Finnish and Norwegian borders, in Enontekio, Finland. (Mikko Stig/Lehtikuva, via AP, File)

By    |   Friday, 29 Jul 2016 11:49 AM

Norway may give Finland a mountain for the country's 100th anniversary, but the Norwegian prime minister said that there are still "formal challenges" ahead before the the unusual gift between neighboring nations can become a reality.

The "mountain" in question is actually the spur to Norway's Halti mountain, the Halditsohkka summit, which lies just inside Norway's border at 1,331 meters, or 4,367 feet, high, The Guardian reported. By moving the Norway/Finland border just 40 meters, or 131 feet, Halditsohkka would become Finland's highest point by 7 meters.

The novel gift idea, which spread on social media over the last year, according to The Washington Post, is now under serious consideration, Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg told the country's TV 2, noted NRK, a Finnish news agency.

"There are some formal challenges and I haven't yet decided my own view on the matter," Solberg said, according to NRK. "But we are considering it."

Next year, Finland will celebrate its 100th anniversary of gaining independence from the Russian Republic. The idea of the mountain gift is the brainchild of a retired Norwegian surveyor, Bjorn Geirr Harsson, who realized that tweaking the border line would give Finland a new geographical high point, according to NRK.

"Isn't it quite an idea? We would not be donating a piece of Norway, the change would be invisible," Harsson, who said he originally thought of the idea in 1972, told NRK last December. "And I'm sure that Finns would appreciate it. I remember wondering at the time, why on earth hasn't Finland been given this summit."

But in the age of social media, it took Facebook to give the idea legs when Harsson's son created a page for the campaign, which translates in English to "Halti as an anniversary gift," according to The Washington Post.

The Post reported that local politicians in the Halti area wrote country officials to give thumbs up to the move, and Finland's foreign ministry showed their own support for the suggestion on social media, as well.


But Michael Tetzschner, the deputy chair of Norway's parliamentary scrutiny committee, poured cold water on the idea, telling Aftenposten earlier this year that he believes the country constitution "clearly prohibits the surrender by the state of any part of Norwegian territory to another power," according to The Guardian.

Arctic University of Norway law professor Oyvind Ravna, said, though, that Norway's borders with Finland and Russia have already been adjusted over the years to reflect changes in riverbeds and the shifting position of sandbanks and islets, suggesting that a precedent has already been set that would favor the mountain gift.

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Norway may give Finland a mountain for the country's 100th anniversary, but the Norwegian prime minister said that there are still "formal challenges" ahead before the the unusual gift between neighboring nations can become a reality.
norway, finland, mountain, halti, anniversary
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2016-49-29
Friday, 29 Jul 2016 11:49 AM
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