Norway Refuses to Gift Finland Even One Measly Mountain

Semantics put a stop to a fun birthday idea
By Daniel Kay,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2016 5:28 PM CDT
Norway Refuses to Gift Finland Even One Measly Mountain
In this Aug. 4, 2008 file photo, a general view of the Halti mountain, on the Finnish and Norwegian borders, in Enontekio, Finland.   (Mikko Stig/Lehtikuva, via AP, File)

Norwegians made the news late last year with an innovative proposal to celebrate Finland's 100th birthday by gifting their neighboring country the summit of Mount Halti, which sits on the border of the two Scandinavian countries. Most of the mountain is already in Finnish territory, the Independent reports. While the idea got a lot of viral traction online and popular support in Norway, now AFP says it won't be happening. The hang-up is a semantic one: Article 1 of the Norwegian constitution states that the kingdom of Norway shall remain "indivisible and inalienable." So no moving borders, no matter how slightly.

Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of Finland's independence from Russia, and gifting Mount Halti was proposed as a way to mark the auspicious anniversary. Norway, which boasts several hundred mountain peaks, wouldn't miss this one unremarkable summit near the border, supporters argued. Plus, the retired employee of the Norwegian Mapping Authority who first came up with the idea in 1972 calls it "geophysically illogical" that though most of the mountain sits in Finland, the peak was given to Norway. Despite the government's inability to change the borders, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg assured her people, "We will think of another worthy gift to celebrate the occasion of Finland centenary." (More Norway stories.)

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