This is what Norway might be giving Finland as a birthday present next year... and it's going to be pretty hard to wrap

Francesca Washtell
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Midsummer In The Arctic Archipelago Svalbard
Mount Halti is not pictured, but Norway has a lot of peaks in Svalbard (Source: Getty)

Birthdays... they stump us all, and not least when diplomacy is involved.

It must be hard to think of a new present to give a country each year, but this week the Norwegian government confirmed it is considering giving Finland - wait for it - an arctic mountain for its birthday next year, when the country will celebrate 100 years of independence from Russia.

"There are some formal challenges, and I have not yet made my final decision. But we are looking into it," Erna Solberg, the Norwegian prime minister, told its national broadcaster NRK.

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The mountain concerned is mount Halti, which is 1,365m tall and sits just a kilometre into the Norwegian side of the Norway-Finland border.

If Norway decides to give Finland the pointy (and very hard to wrap) gift, it will become Finland's highest peak, marginally overtaking the country's current tallest summit of 1,331m-tall Halditsohkka.

Norwegian politicians including the mayor of Kafjord, which is located close to Halti, have voiced their support. Svein Leiros, Kafjord's mayor, has said the peak "would be a wonderful gift to our sister nation".

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The campaign to give Finland a mountain peak to celebrate its declaration of independence from Bolshevik Russia on 6 December 1917 was started by a retired geophysicist and government surveyor, Bjorn Geirr Harsson, 76, the Guardian reported.

Londoners will already be aware of how Norway excels at savvy present-giving: the capital Oslo has donated the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree to the people of Britain every year since 1947.


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