Norwegians campaign to give Finland a mountain

A Facebook campaign has been launched for Norway to give their flat Finnish neighbour a mountain that would become its new highest peak as a gift for the centenary of its independence.

Norwegians campaign to give Finland a mountain
The Haldi mountain straddles the border of Finland and Norway. Photo: Ken Bartlett/
The campaign, “Halti as an anniversary gift” has won the support of the head of the Norwegian Mapping Authority, and been warmly received in Finland where one commentator claimed the gesture “would be remembered for a thousand years”. 
“The aim of the site is to see how many Norwegians are interested in giving Finland the peak of the Halti mountain, which is 20 metres within our borders, as an anniversary gift in 2017,” the campaigners wrote at the launch of campaign site on Facebook on December 8th. 
At 1,365m, Halti does not even make the the list of Norway’s highest 200 peaks. But even one of its lowly lower spurs, Hálditšohkka, is the highest point in Finland, at 1,324m. 
Simply adding a triangular addition to the border between Norway and Finland, by drawing a line 200m North and 150m to the East  would bring Finland a new highest peak, while losing Norway just 0.015 km2. 
“Isn’t it a creative idea?” Bjørn Geirr Harsson, the retired employee of the Norwegian Mapping Authority who dreamed up the proposal, told NRK when they contacted him this week. 
“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,” he said. 
Harsson, 75, said he had the idea back in 1972 when he was flying along the border taking measurements. 
“I was taken aback by why on earth they had not received this peak,” he said. 
Although Harsson admitted to having had the idea, he said he did not use Facebook, and suspected his son had put up the page. 
On Thursday last week Harsson sent an email to Anne Cathrine Frøstrup, the head of the Norwegian Mapping Authority, his former employer, making the proposal. 
“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. 
Finns commenting on the Facebook page have been overwhelmed with the gesture. 
“This would be the coolest thing ever!!!!” wrote Harri Nieminen from Tampere. 
“The Norwegians would make history and become heroes not just in Finland but in the whole world!” wrote Jyrki Veranen. 

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Norway’s Mannen landslide ‘postponed’ until next year after movement slows

Authorities in Norway do not expect a landslip at the unstable Mannen mountainside in Romsdalen until next year.

Norway’s Mannen landslide 'postponed' until next year after movement slows
Photo: Torstein Bøe / NTB scanpix

The Veslemannen section of the mountainside is now not expected to come loose this year, with risk alerts reduced from red to yellow on Wednesday.

Evacuated residents will now return to their homes, reports newspaper VG.

“We have decided to reduce the risk level to yellow. The basis for this is clearly reduced movement,” lead geologist Lars Harald Blikra of the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) told VG.

On Sunday, warning levels were increased to red and residents were evacuated from the area, while NVE on Tuesday pumped water on to the Veslemannen slope in an effort to initiate a landslide.

Residents are now free to return to their homes, Ole Kjell Talberg of Rauma Municipality told VG.

People living in at-risk areas close to the mountain have had to temporarily leave their homes on four previous occasions in the last four years.

The efforts to dislodge the moving ground on Tuesday were seen as a last possible attempt this year, with colder weather oncoming, thereby freezing natural water flow.

Although the water pumping increased the rate of movement of the ground, it was not enough to stimulate a landslide which would have stabilised the slope, writes VG.

Weather forecasts have now been borne out, with snow falling at the Mannen peak and the rate of movement of the land reduced.

The section of the 1,294-metre Mannen peak in the Rauma municipality in Romsdalen is one of Norway’s most closely-monitored for landslide risks.

Geologists refer to the unstable section of the Mannen mountainside as ‘Veslemannen’ (‘The Little Man').

Veslemannen is about 1,200 metres above sea level and has a volume of 120,000 to 180,000 cubic metres – about one percent of the total volume of Mannen.

Heightened landslide risk on the mountain dates back to 2014.

READ ALSO: Norway authorities take measures to start landslide at Mannen mountain