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What Do You Give a Country for Its 100th Birthday? How About an Entire Mountain?

Neighborly Norwegians hatched a plan for Finland’s 2017 centennial: gift them their country’s new highest peak. But is their quirky plan an insurmountable climb?

By | January 17, 2017

This story is republished from MEL Magazine. MEL aims to challenge, inspire and encourage readers to drop any preconceived notions of who they’re supposed to be.

Norway is pondering an unusual birthday gift for Finland: an Arctic mountain peak. Mount Halti is the highest mountain in Finland, but its 4,478-foot summit is in Norway. To help commemorate the 100th anniversary of Finland’s declaration of independence from Russia on December 6, 1917, a group of Norwegians—led by retired geophysicist Bjørn Geirr Harsson—is urging the government to move a point on its border with Finland some 490 feet to the north and 650 feet to the east. Halti’s peak would then become the highest point in Finland, surpassing a spur of the mountain that tops out at 4,344 feet.

Considering the tumultuous history of international boundaries—and the current discussion in this country about building a wall between ourselves and one of our neighbors—this would be an unprecedented show of kindness between nations. (And much better than cake or a watch.)

But how exactly does one give away a mountain? MEL Films recently traveled to Norway to find out.

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