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

MountainPhoto: Trust Tru Katsande / 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 while researching 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?

A fascinating discovery

Well, back in the 18th century, when the border was created, the common practice was to draw a straight line to distinguish one country’s land from another’s. 

Upon his discovery, Harsson began campaigning the Norwegian government to modify the border so that the peak would belong to Finland. 

In 2016, after his official retirement, Harsson’s pleas gained the public’s attention.

Namely, 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. 

Facebook campaign

He gained over 17,000 signatures over Facebook for his cause to give the so-called “Birthday Mountain” to Finland.

Ultimately, Harsson’s plea was rejected, with Prime Minister Erna Solberg stating that “border adjustments between countries raise complex legal issues” and that changing the border might break Norway’s constitution, which holds “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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