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Norwegians campaign to give Finland a mountain (thelocal.no)
276 points by teh_klev on Dec 20, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 101 comments

As a Finn I really appreciate this gesture. I've even been to that mountain. Norwegians are cool and straightforward. If all countries were more like Norway, there wouldn't need to be wars or closed borders.

What a nice gesture from our great neighbor to give few extra meters to our highest peak.

From the guys who gave us OOP, css, and Qt to the guys who gave us the guy who gave us Linux. A mountain top. What's not to like?

And Opera, and browser tabs, I believe. And the search box in browsers (from Opera).

Tabbed browsing was present in Windows browsers before Opera. There were a lot of browsers that just embedded IE's Trident engine, and some of them had tabbed browsing. Wikipedia says that the first was NetCaptor in 1997. It does sort of make sense that this happened on Windows, because tabs are a natural variation on MDI.

Well, at least they took it mainstream.

Linux, irc and MySQL.

I forgot SSH, from the list of significant Finnish OSS projects, though I think original SSH by Tatu Ylönen was freeware, not OSS proper.

What's not to like about Linux or IRC or even MySQL?

The back ticks to escape MySQL columns ;) But that doesn't remove the huge thanks for producing reliable OSS at such a level that it's a competitor to Oracle.

You forgot Dovecot.

Buzz sequencer. But that's a niche software product.

Wasnt MySQL Swedish?

There were two founders, one Finnish and the other Swedish.

The original author, Michael Widenius is a Finlandswede (swedish speaking minority in Finland).

He founded the company MySQL AB together with two Swedes in Sweden.

Long cold winter nights gives plenty of time for hacking ...


Nope, QT is originally from Trolltech[1]. Nokia bought the company back in 2008. Later it was sold again, to Digia.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qt_(software)#History

It was started by Trolltech in Norway. It was only later sold to Nokia, and then to Digia.

Czech Republic is giving Poland 900 acres as a gift:


It doesn't actually sound like a gift, but more like a payment to resolve a territorial dispute.

There is a treaty from 1989, that all land disputes are closed and borders are final. They claim there is a glitch after that, so it is is a gift.

What would we do with that crappy mountain. Give use the oil, dammit.

We actually tried to give away major oil rights to the Swedes 35 years ago, in exchange for 40% of Volvo, but the Swedes refused.

So we ended up pumping up the oil ourselves and invested it in a giant oil fund. This oil fund is now the second biggest owner of Volvo.

Thank you Sweden for not accepting the offer :)

You know that the sovereignty of Norway was just a hundred year trial until 2005. We could have just gone "Nope, they still eat fiskekaker. it has obviously not worked out."

Now, it would have been a diplomatic crisis, but we _could_ have done it.

Wow, really? Sweden must regret that decision so much haha!

In an unexpected Ninja move, Norway gives Finland Shetland and Falkland Islands as gift. Sources say Oslo has ordered five million barrels of popcorn.

Hey now, how about appreciating the gesture at least? :-)

Careful what you wish for! Countries with oil seem to be in a world of hurt right now :)

Except that Norway has been exceedingly prudent and now have one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world [1]. This fund is the largest stockholder in Europe.

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_Pension_Fund_of_Nor...

Except it's a pension fund... Did anybody suggest using some of the money to deliver fiber optic broadband to every home in Norway?

Either way, it's a much better outcome than the UK, where governments pissed away the benefits of North Sea oil and gas....

The story of how Norway came to be the country that survived oil is fascinating. The crux is they had the insane luck of a young but experienced Iraqi geologist with the right mindset showing up on their doorstep at just the right time - and the wisdom to know they needed his help. This is where I first read the story: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/99680a04-92a0-11de-b63b-00144feabd...

Google search the URL and follow the link. Works for FT, WSJ and many others who have some agreement with Google.

paywall :(

just search for the iraqi who saved norway from oil on google, click the link.

It was actually discussed here on HN several times before: https://hn.algolia.com/?query=norway%20iraq&sort=byPopularit...

Despite its name, it is in fact not a pension fund.


Thanks! I was perhaps mislead by Wikipedia, since that's where I looked for info ;-)

From a very distant part of the world, it seems magical to hear about such people and places. I can only wish for it :)

Can we have one too?

Mange tak.

- Denmark

As you know. You had it all

- Norway amicable nipletwist


Oddly enough, Halti is already Finland's highest mountain: the current highest point in Finland is just a little lower (1,324 m) than the actual peak that the Norwegians propose to hand over (1,365m).


"Open borders" but a firm embrace of a welfare state?

That's an invitation to migrate for welfare.

"It's just obvious you can't have free immigration and a welfare state," -Friedman.

(dang, thanks for the down votes. Parent gets a dig in for "open borders" and pointing out that concept has a serious cost is "unmutual" thought here at HN? How about some serious feedback instead? )

The downvotes were probably because this is a generic ideological tangent, and those make a thread more contentious and repetitive, and therefore less interesting in HN's sense.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10767016 and marked it off-topic.

But if all countries were more like Norway, there probably would not me welfare immigration, since every country would have it.

I too wish I was sitting on near-infinite reserves of natural resources. The Norwegian economy and social state can sustain itself for generations on oil income alone. Its population literally doesn't need to work and can still support the current quality of life.

The difference between Norway and most countries with Oil is how Norway manages the proceeds. It has a very long term plan and doesn't allow too much of the money to reside in Norway thereby artificially inflating the economy.

Yes, agreed. The recent drop in oil prices has caused Canada's economy to plummet, due to mismanagement, for example.


On the other hand, the example of other countries with oil makes me feel lucky that mine doesn't have.

Couldn't you just limit welfare access? e.g. Must live or work in the country for x years before having access to welfare.

Then the Scandinavian countries would have two levels, like the Persian Gulf countries. We tried hard to create a society without a "gastarbeiter" group; no real poverty and no desperate/hungry people.

Because how immigration has been handled the last few years in Sweden, that ambition seems to fail the coming years. The social contract will need a rewrite. :-(

The shocking part is that seems mostly to be a result of party politics.

"It's just obvious you can't have free immigration and a welfare state," -Friedman.

Well that's not necessarily true. If you have welfare in which those able to work only qualify if they are actively seeking work, and an economy in which increased demand leads to increased need for workers, and thus increased jobs, immigrants don't have the option of not seeking work and literally create new jobs that need to be filled, ending up net contributors to the state.

What qualifies as, "able to work" and "actively seeking work" are pretty subjective and there are some prominent examples where these rules are in place and easily gamed.

The most notable example that comes to mind is the rampant fraud in the US Social Security Disability fund where there is a cottage industry in certifying people as disabled and unable to work when they are in fact not. The problem has gotten so bad that the fund has been paying out massively more than it has been taking in in recent years (30 Billion in 2014 for example) and will be insolvent within the next year.


What qualifies as, "able to work" and "actively seeking work" are pretty subjective and there are some prominent examples where these rules are in place and easily gamed.

I don't disagree, but as retort to the blanket Friedman quote, it's valid, because those problems are orthogonal to immigrants; actually, I seem to recall that the natives are disproportionately represented in welfare fraud, but I don't have my sources to hand.

Could the Scandinavian countries be any more perfect? In a world full of strife, and countries fighting over pieces of land, Norway/Sweden sound like a fairytale.

Ya, hearing about scandinavia in the news is an interesting phenomena. I'm from America and I'm living in Scandinavia for the second time... While things seem to work pretty well, it's definitely nothing like I perceived from reading about it in the news. My guess is the difference is caused by equality. While I was able to live a good life in several US cities, living a decent life in scandinavia is just available for a larger percentage of the population due to equality.

> living a decent life in scandinavia is just available for a larger percentage of the population due to equality.

To put it another way, its one of the last industrialized nations able to hold onto a homogeneous culture and rooted in a shared ethnicity. A lack of immigration or colonial baggage, combined with culture deeply rooted in a "don't stand out too much" mentality, makes governance and social welfare quite easy. Its an impenetrable boundary for immigrants and effectively creates a whole new social class; reactionary political movements are thriving in ways not seen since German occupation. It doesn't hurt that there are only a few million people, all living very close by. This system will slowly fall apart over the next quarter century as Sweden continues to globalize in order to maintain population and economic growth. Sweden and the Nordic countries are an exception to the rule of social society and, though we can try to mimic some of their successes, not an example to model off of.

Its also worth noting that their government systematically props up the labor market, especially professional classes. They employ massive amounts of engineers and scientists, working on projects that never see the light of day. A country free education combined with a comparatively small business culture needs a blow-off valve in order to maintain quality of life.

The European social states are a product of their place and time. Huge parts of developed Western Europe were completely destroyed during WWII, leaving much of their populations homeless and destitute with little economic capital. These countries had no choice but to guarantee extensive social services. This was economically possible due to massive stimulus by the Marshall Plan and UN during the post-war reconstruction years.

Finn here: you'll have to excuse my French, but bull-fucking-shit.

Finland has plenty of colonial baggage, having been a colony of both Sweden and Russia (who brutally displaced the native Lapps/Sami), and modern Finland was built on immigration. In addition to the obvious Swedes and Russians, which are still sizable minorities today, an astonishing number of magnates from the era of industrialization were immigrants. Finlayson? Scottish. Fazer? Swiss. Sinebrykoff? Russian.

Yes, immigration to independent/post-war Finland was near-zero and everybody got a good 50 years to mingle together before the European Union came along and opened the doors again. But pretending that Finland's economic success is down to "homogeneous culture" and "shared ethnicity" is absurd.

What, a country with two official languages with no common ancestry isn't a homogeneous culture? Say it ain't so!

What a fascinating narrative you just built.

Is the message "don't look to them as an example"? Because they look a pretty good example to me.

You say: "These countries had no choice but to guarantee extensive social services."

On the contrary, they had a choice and has paid well.

What's wrong with the government propping up labor market? It sounds wonderful. The state takes money from for-profit enterprise and uses it to employ scientists and engineers for the greater good. What could be better?

Indeed, but you need those for-profit enterprises to prop it up. The business economy is lacking in market diversity, and much of the country's most successful indigenous businesses have sold large stakes to foreign multi-nationals. With this, Sweden's current business culture of expensive labor and comparatively low output will not sustain their social state in the coming decades. Between a nearly a decade of university (seemingly everyone has a Master's) and generous retirement, Swedes spend more of their adult life on the dole than they do producing for the economy.

All countries need unemployment. It's just one of those bizarre side effects of our economy. If "the reserve" is too small, salaries go up due to employees being scarce, which drives up prices, which drives up salaries and so on, and you could end up with rampant inflation, which hurts exports and can lead to a economic depression and possibly a systems collapse. This very nearly happened to Sweden in the seventies and eighties, and politicians have since learned to pretend that they want everyone to have a job, but at the same time carefully manage the country so that there's not too little unemployment.

In part, the problem was solved by worker immigration as well, which may be the less altruistic part of Sweden's traditionally open stance to immigration. This, along with the fact that Sweden has negative nativity.

Sweden currently has 6.2% unemployment, which may be a tad too much, but for the vast majority is nowhere near "spending most of their adult life on the dole". It is possible to have a country with no unemployment, but not one that has a market economy.

The pension system does need a reform though, primarily because we live longer lives and it's made for a population with shorter life spans.

What complete drivel. How do you even figure that a masters degree would take "nearly a decade". A bachelor + master is five years in Sweden, before the Bologna process the equivalent was four years. If your don't keep up you aren't eligible for student loans or housing.

Scandinavia believes in 30 years to prepare for work 30 years of work and 30 years of retirement. Many Scandinavians spend gap years between each degree, and actually get placement in better schools for waiting to go to school. Although some get their degrees quickly most don't feel a rush as decent money can be made working minimum wage jobs. (Currently in Norway)

Do you think that most engineers and scientists in Norway work in the public sector, maybe?

I very much doubt that it true for Sweden either.

The Nordics only seems perfect from the outside. Us that live here sometimes wonder why people ever thought it was a good idea to settle here. The winters are too long and dark. The summers are too short and cold. The people are too shy. We dont talk to strangers or neighbours.

We dream of some fairytale land where the sun always shines and people talk to strangers. I think there is such a place somewhere in South America.

We would trade the highest mountain for a piece of such a place.

Writing from Argentina here. As we happen to have the tallest peak in the Western hemisphere (Aconcagua, 6960m), on behalf of my country I must politely decline your offer.

Fiji here. Happy to trade an island or two for a glass or two of Ekofisk crude.

I'm a Dane sitting in such a place right now. It is summer down here. And my computer is plugged into a fibre optic internet connection.

No place is perfect, but right now I am not complaining.

Hardly perfect.

1. This is a story about Norway gifting Finland a bit of land as a celebration of Finland's full declaration of independence (I think from Russia). Sweden does not factor into it.

2. Scandinavian countries are also inhabited by humans, which means there are all the same "isms" and problems like everywhere else. It is just distributed a little differently.

I've lived and travelled to many places across Europe. Most recently I lived in Stockholm for a year and it was damn near perfect. By far the best place I've ever stayed at.

Of course it has problems. Problems are not something you can get rid of, they are just a manifestation of the worst things in your environment (There is always a "worst" of everything, even an utopia). Sweden's problems are almost all the definition of "first world". I'm in Athens now and I miss that country.

Again, here we are with that word, "perfect."

Sorry, but to say that Sweden's problems are largely "first world" is incredibly naive.

Sweden is really struggling to find the resources to adequately deal with accepting, feeding, and housing all the refugees streaming in. Hardly a frist-world problem.

Sweden's security services are under immense pressure to identify, monitor, and stop any terror threats from within, and do it under strict privacy laws. Hardly a first-world problem.

Sweden's social welfare system cannot possible sustain all of the support given internally and externally to her borders. It was never designed to accomodate and support thousands of refugees who cannot immediately (or ever) pay back into the system.

"Sweden's security services are under immense pressure to identify, monitor, and stop any terror threats from within, and do it under strict privacy laws. Hardly a first-world problem."

Isn't that the very definition of a first-world problem? In the rest of the world privacy laws are a joke.

The refugee problem seems external, rather than internal. Kudos to Sweden that they are being a humane country and offering refugees help, even if it comes at a slight personal cost to the Swedish people. I wish all countries were so kind.

Sure, refugees are an external problem right up until they show up on your doorstep, and you are then legally obligated to coordinate and provide housing, healthcare, and assistance on an unprecedented scale that Sweden has never seen.

And do all of this under the direction of Sweden's track record of failed integration policies [1]

Easy-peasy indeed...

[1] - http://www.thelocal.se/20090923/22244

> right up until they show up on your doorstep, and you are then legally obligated to coordinate

You do realize Sweden is inviting refugees? Which is just about the opposite to what every other country is doing.

Linking news from 2009 is not exactly a counterpoint to anything. Integration in Sweden may not be perfect but it's one of the rare countries actually trying to have an integration policy other than "go back to where you came from".

The world will look back a few decades from now (hopefully sooner) on the times we closed our doors to the war torn. The times we were all disgustingly xenophobic. The times we treated others as sub-human because of their religion -- remember the last time that happened?

I do want to say this much: in the past decade of living in different european countries, a decade of feeling far more "european" than "french", I've never been as proud of my country and government back home as when they took a stand against terrorism by refusing to change their immigration policies, rather than falling in to the 9/11 "differentophobia" trap.

I want more refugees in my country. I want my country to help people, even if it's at its own detriment. Those attaching absurd conditions such as "we only want catholic refugees" are basically saying "Sure I'll help the ones in need, as long as it doesn't cost me anything". They are the real life definition of slacktivism.

If integration policies fail, then fix the policies. Don't just stop accepting refugees. If your city's homeless policies are failing, should your new policy be "just ship the homeless next door, they'll know what to do with them"?

Anyway, I'm saying all that but you quite clearly misunderstood the parent post and what he meant by an "external problem", so I'll end my rant.

Im sitting on the station in Malmö after being abroad for a year. It's perfect.

I'd like to think there is sarcasm in this, but since you forgot to end it /sarcasm, I'll bite....

  - Bombings and grenades this summer - https://www.rt.com/news/310757-sweden-malmo-blasts-crime/

  - A long history of Anti-semitism (not unique to Sweden)
  - Anti-Muslim hate-crime  (again, not unique to Sweden)
  - Anti-Roma (Gypsy) hate-crime - (again...you get the point)

Malmö is one of the many powder kegs across Europe. You have entire neighborhoods where Fire, emergency, and law enforcement will not go ("no-go zones") [1]

Sweden is not perfect. Malmo is no perfect. No place is perfect. To say so is a lie, or you have your head in the sand.

[1] - http://swedenreport.org/2014/10/29/swedish-police-55-officia...

There most certainly is no neighborhood in Malmö where law enforcement won't go. There was a time when firefighters wanted to be escorted by police when going to Rosengård because they were harassed.

Harassment suggests they were heckled the way one might heckle at sports games. Emergency services were attacked with stones and bottles. ATTACKED.

I'm curious why you actually thought he meant it was _literally_ perfect?

It was clearly meant as an idiomatic expression.

Why not mention rapes, murders and crimes that aren't targeting a specific group? They're all valid reasons for you to object to the statement that some place is literally perfect.

Your objection is entirely out touch with the parent posts intended meaning.

Hence, my comment about sarcasm.

Just what do you think was the intended meaning when someone calls a city perfect?

About the same meaning I would derive from a native of anywhere saying their home-town/city/country is 'amazing/perfect/etc...'

That they're(almost always) expressing a sentiment not making a statement of fact.

Can you name many situations where 'perfect' is actually used literally?

That cake was perfect? I think not; you're completely ignoring the non-locally-sourced flour.

I'm not trying to say your point isn't valid it just seemed out of place and tangentially related to the topic.

Point taken. And agreed -- this thread is way off from Norway handing Finland a mountain...

Have an upvote form me :-)

>Norway gifting

*a bunch of Norwegians campaigning for

It's a nice gesture, but thus far the official Norway has at least not embraced the idea.

The Swedish government has a monopoly on the sell of alcohol, price is two to three times more expensive than the rest of Europe and you are forced to buy from State owned supermarkets which closes around 3pm on Saturdays and all day on Sunday. If this kind of socialism is a fairy tale for you, you can read more about it here:


And while it's ridiculous that you can't buy cold beer stronger than 3.5% by volume, and can't do it on a Sunday, I still wouldn't switch to any of the system in any country I have lived in (E.g. Australia, UK). I wouldn't mind the prices of beer in a bar to be more reasonable but what can you do.

What's expensive in .se is the alcohol, not the alcholic products. That makes the price of some cheap products very high, most notably gin/vodka etc, which carry a price that may be 3x higher than elsewhere (Worth noting of course is that even at these prices they aren't nearly paying their own damages). That is only half the story though, products like decent wine and single malt whisky is actually very well priced, and often cheaper than in their respecive countries of origin. In the uk a crap bottle of wine is £3, in sweden twice that. A good bootle of wine in the uk is £20 and can be half that in Sweden. Prices are very compressed, which makes it an excellent place to be drinking decent stuff.

I know you were likely sort of tounge-in-cheek about the alcohol issue, but really there are lots of aspects that are way worse. Just take the fact that the day (if you can even call it that) in Sweden today was 5 hours long... That will drive you nuts no matter what the cost of booze is :D

The only correct item here is about Systembolaget -- the state-run liquor store. Everything else is outright wrong. Prices are more, but not 2x or 3x more. And on many mid-priced wines the prices are lower due to buying power.

The major chains are either private, partnerships, or Franchise models -- ICA, Lidl (German-owned), Hemkop (Owned by AxFoods), Willys, etc.

Also, though grocery stores are not 24/7, most are open 7 days a week up to 10 or 11pm.

If this is you major complaint, I'm not sure you can call it "not a fairy tale". There is a vast body of research (e.g. [1]) that points out the public health benefits of this alcohol policy. Scandinavians also have a very different drinking culture than their southern neighbours; as the article you link to notes, more than 65% of the population drink 0 units from Monday through Thursday, and then drink a lot during the weekend. When the drinking habits are so different from continental Europe, why should public policy be the same?

[1] http://www.dldocs.stir.ac.uk/documents/nad42.pdf

> The Swedish government has a monopoly on the sell of alcohol, price is two to three times more expensive than the rest of Europe

Look, sure the industrially produced crap is expensive, but the good stuff is cheap! In Norway, Finland and Sweden, never buy whatever has the lowest price, it's in the mid-range you get the good stuff. Try to shop for some good single malt whiskey, XO+ Cognac, aged rum -- or just good wine (not "table wine") -- and you're likely to find that the government stores carry a wide variety, and that prices aren't all that high.

Now, if you want a cheap bottle of wine... yeah. You won't find anything you can just use to reduce a sauce without feeling like you're lighting money on fire.

I remember going to a wine tasting, and a representation from France said that the (now no longer) specialist store in Oslo was one of the best Wine shops in all of Europe -- because they had such a great variety. You can go to France and find wines they don't carry, but on the other hand they have great French wines, and great wines from all over the world.

All that said, I'm not happy that there's no such thing as a cheap, good beer in Norway...




A random Systembolaget matches a speciality store in essentially any major city of the world in terms of selection and price, not to talk of the less major ones. I'll take that fairy tale over being able to buy the local cheap lager at the corner store any day.

Sugar + yeast + heat source = vodka. Problem solved.

>This is some kind of trick. I'll bet the mountain has 50,000 'Syrian refugees' living on it or something.

Cracking up.

While it sounds like a nice gesture, it is quite dangerous actually. Maybe this generation of norwegians don't mind to give away part of their country but next generation will do. They might demand to give it back for some reason and here you go - endless disputes and friendship turns in hatred.

That kind of thinking produces a race to the bottom. "Let's not be good-hearted, because our children might be jerks and resent us for it."

The solution to this is not to reach for the lowest common denominator, but to aim high (and raise decent children).

I think the area is small enough to be measured in square meters...

From the article: 0.015 km^2.

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