A mountain between friends

What do you give the country that has everything? Why not a mountain peak?

Photo: Lars Holme / Peakbagger.com Finland’s current highest point, which is also a border marker with Norway on the slope leading to Halti. The peak, if added to Finland, would become its highest point.

Photo: Lars Holme / Peakbagger.com
Finland’s current highest point, which is also a border marker with Norway on the slope leading to Halti. The peak, if added to Finland, would become its highest point.

The Local

A Facebook campaign has been launched for Norway to give their flat Finnish neighbor a mountain that would become its new highest peak as a gift for the centenary of its independence.

The campaign, “Halti as an anniversary gift,” has won the support of the head of the Norwegian Mapping Authority and been warmly received in Finland, where one commentator claimed the gesture “would be remembered for a thousand years.”

“The aim of the site is to see how many Norwegians are interested in giving Finland the peak of the Halti mountain, which is 20 meters within our borders, as an anniversary gift in 2017,” the campaigners wrote at the launch of the campaign site on Facebook on December 8.

At 1,365 m, Halti does not even make the list of Norway’s highest 200 peaks. But even one of its lowly lower spurs, Hálditšohkka, is the highest point in Finland, at 1,324 m.

Simply adding a triangular addition to the border between Norway and Finland, by drawing a line 200 m north and 150 m to the east, would bring Finland a new highest peak, while losing Norway just 0.015 square kilometers.

Photo: Halti som jubileumsgave / Facebook  The proposed minor change to the map is shown above, center.

Photo: Halti som jubileumsgave / Facebook
The proposed minor change to the map is shown above, center.

“Isn’t it a creative idea?” Bjørn Geirr Harsson, the retired employee of the Norwegian Mapping Authority who dreamed up the proposal, told NRK when they contacted him this week.

“We would not have to give away any part of Norway. It would barely be noticeable. And I’m sure the Finns would greatly appreciate getting it,” he said.
Harsson, 75, said he had the idea back in 1972 when he was flying along the border taking measurements. “I was taken aback by why on earth they had not received this peak,” he said.

Although Harsson admitted to having had the idea, he said he did not use Facebook and suspected his son had put up the page.

On December 9 Harsson sent an email to Anne Cathrine Frøstrup, the head of the Norwegian Mapping Authority, his former employer, making the proposal.

“I must say that I think it’s a very good idea,” she told NRK. “It is a nice gift to give to a country that lacks a high mountain, where the highest point isn’t even a peak,” she said.

Finns commenting on the Facebook page have been overwhelmed with the gesture.

“This would be the coolest thing ever!!!!” wrote Harri Nieminen from Tampere.

“The Norwegians would make history and become heroes not just in Finland but in the whole world!” wrote Jyrki Veranen.

This article was originally published on The Local.

It also appeared in the Dec. 25, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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