Why Norway Wants to Give Finland a Mountain
In honor of the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence from Russia, Norway is considering giving its neighbor a new record.
When the border between Finland and Norway was drawn in the 1750s, it cut through the Halti mountain range and ended just before the peak of the Hálditšohkka mountain. Now officials are considering moving the border to give Finland a proper mountain peak.
Finland’s current highest point is 4,343 feet at Hálditšohkka mountain. But by moving the border just 130 feet, Finland’s border would move up the mountain and become about 23 feet higher than its current highest point.
Norway wouldn’t be giving up that much. There are actually two peaks to Mount Halti: the one that teeters on the border and another about a kilometer inside of Norway’s borders. The second is about 100 feet higher. And Norway’s highest peak towers over both Mount Halti peaks. Galdhøpiggen, in southern Norway, sits at 8,100 feet, making it the highest mountain peak in Scandinavia.
The idea came from a Bjørn Geirr Harsson, a retired geophysicist who recalled being confused when he flew over Halti in the 1970s. He wrote to the ministry of foreign affairs in July 2015 to suggest moving the border as part of a present to Finland.
The border, which was drawn in the 1750s, was “geophysically illogical,” he said, and unfair that it made Finland’s highest point less than a proper peak. The border move, according to Harsson, would only cost Norway a “barely noticeable” .009 square miles of its territory and make Finland a very happy country.
So far, people in both countries seem in support of the idea—besides the indigenous Sami community who argues that the land should belong to neither country and instead permit their reindeer to roam freely across the territory.