We're used to hearing countries squabble over disputed territories. But it's not so common for citizens to propose giving away a small part of their territory, plus an entire mountain, to a neighboring nation.
But that's exactly what's happening in Norway, where Bjorn Geirr Harsson, a retired employee of the Norwegian Mapping Authority, is leading a campaign to convince the Norwegian government to roll the nation's eastern border westward about 20 meters (66 feet). That would allow the Halti, a 4,479-foot-tall mountain, to become part of Finland.
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"In 2017 Finland celebrates its 100th anniversary, and Norway can give them a great gift," a Facebook page promoting the idea explains. "Let's take Finland to new heights!" The page explains that the mountain, though modest-sized, immediately would become the tallest spot in Finland.
In an interview with Norwegian TV and radio network NRK, Harsson said that Norwegians wouldn't miss the tiny amount of land. "And I'm sure the Finns would greatly appreciate getting it," he said.
Harsson, 75, first got the idea back in 1972, when he was flying along the border of the two nations, taking measurements. But the approaching anniversary of Finnish independence apparently moved him to action.
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Harsson's former boss, Norwegian Mapping Authority head Anne Cathrine Frøstrup, is a supporter. "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.
Harsson's campaign hasn't attracted much attention in the Finnish news media. But it already seems to have earned some international goodwill. "Thank you from this great idea!" one Finnish poster wrote on his Facebook page. "Even this will never come true...this idea warms us a lot!"