High-end gift giving

Norway considers giving neighbor Finland a mountain

Photo: Ppntori photo / Wikimedia Commons Border marker cairn no. 302B at hightest point in Finland.

Photo: Ppntori photo / Wikimedia Commons
Border marker cairn no. 302B at hightest point in Finland.

M. Michael Brady
Asker, Norway

Finland, the sub-Arctic land of lakes and forests, is mostly flat. But on its border with Norway, there are mountains. One, Halti Peak, at about 3° latitude north of the Arctic circle, is the highest point in the country, marked by a cairn at an elevation of 4,324 feet above sea level.

But the cairn marks the highest point on the border, not on the mountain. The summit of Halti Peak, or Haltitunturi in Finnish, Háldičohkka in the Northern Sámi Language, and Haldefjäll in Swedish (the other official language of Finland) is 121 feet higher, some 600 feet to the north, in Norway.

So earlier this year a Facebook campaign (www.facebook.com/Haltijubileum) started proposing that the government cede the area around the actual summit, some 3.7 acres, as a token in commemoration of the December 6, 2017, Finnish centennial of its Declaration of Independence. On July 25, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced that the proposal was being considered.

If the government acts on the proposal and cedes the peak to Finland, it may well be the first time that a grassroots campaign has prompted a country to donate a mountain top to a neighbor.

Updated from article originally published in Mountain Gazette (Boulder, Colorado) February 10, 2016.

This article also appeared in the Aug. 26, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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