Norway tried, and failed, to gift Finland a mountain for its 100th birthday

LofotenSource: Colin Moldenhauer / Unsplash

We would move mountains for our loved ones, especially on their birthday. Not to mention at 100 years of age. But Norway took things a step further and – literally – tried to present Finland with a mountain for its 100th birthday.

The idea started in 1972 when geophysicist Bjørn Geirr Harsson found an anomaly as he carried out research along the Norwegian-Finnish border. 

Harsson realized that the peak of Finland’s tallest mountain, Mount Halti, actually sat in Norway. It was exactly 31 meters over the border.

How could this be? Well, in the 18th century when the border was created, the most common practice was to simply draw a straight line to distinguish one country’s land from another’s. 

A fascinating discovery

Upon his discovery, Harsson began campaigning the Norwegian government to modify the border – so that the peak would belong to Finland, as he thought it should. However, his work remained mostly unnoticed at first.

But then, a big date appeared on the horizon. Finland celebrated 100 years of independence in 2017, which Harsson saw as the perfect chance for Norway to finally present its neighbor with the unique gift.  

He took the opportunity to raise awareness, and (after his official retirement from his long-term job in the field of geophysicist) the unwavering Harsson finally captured the public’s attention.

Facebook campaign

How’d he do it? Well, Harsson launched a Facebook campaign for his cause in 2016, just before Finland’s 100th birthday year.

He gained over 17,000 signatures on Facebook, with many agreeing with his plea to give the so-called “Birthday Mountain” to Finland.

Ultimately, Harsson’s plea was rejected by authorities.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg stated that “border adjustments between countries raise complex legal issues” and that changing the border might break Norway’s Constitution, which holds that “the kingdom of Norway is indivisible and inalienable.” 

However, Solberg was happy about the positive public response, which she saw as “a clear sign that Norway and Finland have a close relationship.”

So – as always when it comes to gifts – it’s the thought that counts.

Source: Norway Today

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1 Comment on "Norway tried, and failed, to gift Finland a mountain for its 100th birthday"

  1. Anne Comer | 4. May 2021 at 01:08 | Reply

    I am sad that this gift of a mountain didn’t happen. It was a lovely idea and I had read about it when it was proposed. But I had not followed up, so I did not know until today that it had not happened. I am sorry and sad.

    Anne Comer
    Olympia Washington, USA

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