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There's A Campaign In Norway To Give Finland An Entire Mountain

What do you give a neighbouring country celebrating 100 years since it achieved independence? To the people behind a campaign in Norway, the answer is a mountain.

Posted on December 18, 2015, at 10:43 a.m. ET

Climbers atop Halti, technically Finland's highest mountain.
Flickr: gro / Creative Commons

Climbers atop Halti, technically Finland's highest mountain.

People in Norway are asking their government to move their country's border with Finland by just 20 metres in order to give their neighbour its very own mountain peak.

The peak of Halti is in Norwegian territory but its slopes are in Finland, and a campaign wants to gift Finland the whole thing as part of its independence centenary celebrations in 2017.

The Halti som jubileumsgave ("Halti as an anniversary gift") Facebook page says this could be achieved with a simple redrawing of the border.

The plan comes from Bjorn Gierr Harsson, a retired employee of the Norwegian Mapping Authority. He told the Daily Telegraph he first had the idea when flying along the border in the 1970s taking measurements, but only wrote to Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs this summer.

"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," the 75-year-old said.

The Facebook page, however, was set up by Norwegian student Sondre Lund, 25, who lives in Trondheim. He was inspired after seeing Harsson's proposal posted on a Norwegian subreddit.

Lund told BuzzFeed News he set up the page because "someone had to do it".

At 1,365 metres tall, Halti is not even counted among Norway's 200 highest mountains, but the part of it that is in Finland is actually that country's highest point, at 1,324 metres. Lund recalls someone writing on the Facebook page: "It's a bit depressing and bizarre to walk down to Finland's highest point."

He is optimistic the plan could actually be realised. "I do feel there's a possibility, a 7/10 chance. The vast majority of people are supportive, most of them think it's a good idea. No one has even heard of Halti before in Norway."

The Facebook page has already attracted a significant reaction in Norway. Anne Cathrine Frostrup, the head of the mapping authority Harsson used to work at, told the country's state broadcaster NRK: "It is a very good idea. It is a nice gift to give to a country that lacks a high mountain, where the highest point isn't even a peak."

Writing on the Facebook page, Finnish user Joni Niemi said: "We love you Norway! How many square kilometres of mosquito-infested swampland would you like in exchange?"

Another commenter from Norway said: "Great idea. We have enough mountains."

Two potential problems are the fact that the Sami ethnic minority group claim all of northern Norway as their traditional territory, while the first line of Norway's constitution says Norway is supposed to be "indivisible".