Finns And Norwegians Argue Over Who Owns The Northern Lights

from the alaska? dept

Perhaps it's because I live in the US, but I always associated the Northern Lights/Aurora Borealis with Alaska. Apparently, over in Europe, they associate it with some Scandanavian countries... but apparently there's a bit of a fight over which one. Matthew A. Sawtell alerts us to what he refers to as "a sign of the times," in which Norwegians and Finns are fighting over who "owns" the Aurora Borealis. Apparently, the Norwegians believe that their country is most regularly associated with the phenomenon. But Finland has just kicked off a tourism campaign that focuses on highlighting that you can see the Northern Lights from Finland. And the Norwegians are none too pleased:
The tension was triggered by a short film that the Finnish Tourist Board posted on its channel on video-sharing platform YouTube, featuring time-lapse footage of the aurora in Finnish Lapland. The film has been viewed almost 400,000 times since September, prompting Norwegians to complain that the Finns are trying to "steal" the northern lights.

"We can not stand by and watch the Finns try to grab a bigger share" of the northern lights market, said Per-Arne Tuftin of Innovation Norway, a state-owned company that promotes tourism in Norway. "We will not give up -- the northern lights will be ours," he told the Troms&ostrok;-based newspaper Nordlys, whose name translates appropriately as Northern Lights. Back in 2009, Innovation Norway launched a campaign to brand the northern lights as a Norwegian phenomenon.
The idea of ownership over shared things is getting downright ridiculous.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    xenomancer (profile), Nov 18th, 2011 @ 6:09pm

    Downright Ridiculous

    Hey! They're cutting in on my action and now they need to pay. I own the entitlement market!

     

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    Esahc (profile), Nov 18th, 2011 @ 6:56pm

    And again, the Canadians get left out of the debate.

     

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      Jesse (profile), Nov 19th, 2011 @ 8:58am

      Re:

      Beat me to the punch. I was going to [politely] remind everyone that Canada has more "northern" than the US, Finland and Norway combined. So kindly, sit down, if that isn't too much trouble.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 10:56am

        Re: Re:

        Yes, but unlike Canada, Finland and Norway actually have a decent sized population, not to mention tourists, that far north. 90% of Canada's population lives within 50 miles of the US border. So you may kindly sit down as well.

         

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          TtfnJohn (profile), Nov 19th, 2011 @ 1:17pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Just the same the Aurora Borealis belongs to Canada! Just ask the Inuit. They'll conform many claims on them through the millenia. ;-)

           

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      Stuart, Nov 21st, 2011 @ 7:04am

      Re:

      The Canadians should go on strike.

       

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    nowhere, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 7:04pm

    It just sounds like the Norwegians are saying that the Finns are stealing tourist that want to see the northern lights, not really anything to do with stealing the northern lights or anything shared.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 7:06pm

    No fair, the Finns have the moomins already.

     

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    Gracey, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 7:18pm

    Silly.

    You can see the Northern Lights from Ontario (um, the one in Canada).

    We don't "own" them. Nobody does.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Nov 18th, 2011 @ 7:38pm

    The Norwegian people should demand that the entire tourism board be fired.
    If your only selling point for the entire country is you can see the lights, you should not be trying to attract people to the country.

    A smart response would have been saying you can see them there, or you could see them here and all of the other beautiful things in Norway.

    This is stupid, we don't want to compete so they are stealing from us... where do they get this crappy business mod... oh wait I figured it out.

     

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      Atkray (profile), Nov 19th, 2011 @ 5:49pm

      Re:

      Duh... it isn't the Norwegian Tourist Board it is

      Innovation Norway.

       

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        That Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 7:11pm

        Re: Re:

        "Innovation Norway, a state-owned company that promotes tourism in Norway" So like a tourism board.

        And their spokesman said -
        "We will not give up -- the northern lights will be ours,"

        So unless they are going to be all Montgomery Burns about it and build a giant disc to block the sky from Finland, he needs to be fired. Rather than compete, he wants to engage in a stupid battle that serves no one - except maybe Finland who are just saying... We've got lights to, and we don't have dreams of owning the whole sky.

         

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          Atkray (profile), Nov 20th, 2011 @ 9:24am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Innovation Norway, a state-owned company that promotes tourism in Norway, So like a tourism board."

          Yes I got that.
          Maybe my head cold is worse that I thought, I was referring to the fact that it seems like now any group or piece of legislation can be expected to do the exact opposite of what the name implies...so my comment was a duh (not directed at The Right Honorable TAC) but referring to the name Innovation Norway and the implication that with such a name there is a near zero probability they will actually do anything innovative.

           

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    davnel (profile), Nov 18th, 2011 @ 7:40pm

    Fighting children

    Sounds to me like the kids are fighting again and need a time-out or two, maybe no dinner for either.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 8:01pm

    For the stupidity shown I propose Finland and Norway both be banned from using any sunlight. Let it be distributed among the rest of the people of the world, who can doubtless make better use of it.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 8:10am

      Re:

      Oh have no fear, here in Finland we won't be using any of the worlds precious sunlight for the next 4 months.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 8:27pm

    There is not a large amount of sunlight in the northern latitudes during the winter months, so it stands to reason they need some "hook" to try and get $$$ from tourists.

    Sounds to me as if this is the free market at work...competitors trying to one up each other by connecting with fans and giving them a reason to buy.

    Nothing quite like freezing your *** off to see a light show that is quite easily visible from more hospitable climes.

     

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    Casey, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 9:02pm

    Mr. President, we must not allow... a Northern Lights gap!

     

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    PopeRatzo (profile), Nov 18th, 2011 @ 9:03pm

    My money is on Finland

    This is how shooting wars start.

    Full disclosure: I think Finland is one of the most beautiful places in the world. I've been there summer and winter and it is a wonderful place.

    Anyway, that's nothing. Here in the US we have major cities involved in an argument over who is going to be most known for brutalizing people trying to exercise their First Amendment rights.

     

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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Nov 18th, 2011 @ 9:54pm

    Ownership culture, ftf.

     

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    Pixelation, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 10:10pm

    I own the rights...

    to any stories regarding Northern Lights. Cease and desist, Mr. Masnick, before I send the forces of Valhalla to inflict mighty retribution.

     

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    Boaz, Nov 18th, 2011 @ 10:57pm

    The Aurora Borealis is not a phenomenon. I learned that when i was a freshman in hs. The cause and effect is simple science.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Nov 19th, 2011 @ 7:47am

    "We can not stand by and watch the Finns try to grab a bigger share" of the northern lights market..."

    The quotes read like something written for the Onion. Are you sure this isn't a joke?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 9:37am

    The idea of ownership over shared things is getting downright ridiculous.

    No, I think you need to go right to... LUDICROUS SPEED! Though I do agree, trying to claim ownership of a natural phenomenon makes about as much sense as Spaceball 1 going to plaid.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 10:31am

    I wonder if they'd also argue which country, hypothetically speaking, that you would need to fly into the aurora borealis from to find a time rip and the langoliers.

     

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    winstonsmith (profile), Nov 19th, 2011 @ 11:48am

    Fuck everyone, They belong to Canada.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 12:12pm

    "The idea of ownership over shared things is getting downright ridiculous."

    I own the air you breathe. Now pay up!!

     

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    hmm (profile), Nov 19th, 2011 @ 6:34pm

    SOPA again

    Imagine if a law like SOPA passed in Finland and Norway.

    Each side would be able to claim "infringement" of their northern lights copyrights/patent/trademark (etc you get the point) and shut the other's tourism board websites down.....

    Is THAT what you want? Justin Bieber being totally removed from the net by Lady Gaga, who then gets rid of all of her musi.....no wait...stop....forget I just said that part!

     

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    Matthew A. Sawtell, Nov 19th, 2011 @ 10:45pm

    Now for the rest of the quote...

    Mike, looks like you forgot the tail end of what I said. "Just another sign of the times, or a distributing sign of what is to come".

     

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    FuzzyDuck, Nov 20th, 2011 @ 1:24am

    No-one owns them

    If it's just about seeing the northern lights then, Finland wins over Norway any time, because: Finland is a lot cheaper than Norway, and Finland has better infrastructure (roads).

    Norway often have a misplaced sense of ownership, for instance they think the all the whales in the sea are theirs to kill.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Nov 20th, 2011 @ 4:50am

    Funnily enough, I didn't realise that the northern lights were visible in Alaska, I'd always associated them with Greenland and Scandinavia...

    As for the story, well I've not seen this much idiocy surrounding the northern lights since Americans decided to rename it The Golden Compass ;)

     

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    Gill Bates, Nov 20th, 2011 @ 5:59am

    OK, I won the SUN and want...

    EVERYONE who enjoys MY daylight to send me license fees...

     

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    mhenriday (profile), Nov 20th, 2011 @ 7:09am

    There's no need for the Finns or the Norwegians to get all hot and bothered ;

    everybody knows that we Swedes own the norrsken. Why our (unofficial) national song refers to Din himmel (Your sky), which for all unbiased observers should suffice to clinch the argument. Tourists are, of course, welcome to observe the phenomenon, but woe betide them if any pieces of the Lights are discovered on them when they pass through check-in at the aeroport on the way home !...

    Henri

     

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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Nov 20th, 2011 @ 9:03am

    I own sunrises, and have a patent pending on sunsets.

    For everyone who looks at either, you will pay me whatever I require.

     

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    fb39ca4 (profile), Nov 20th, 2011 @ 10:05am

    Russia

    If that was the case, then shouldn't Russia own the Earth because they have the most land on it?

     

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    aikiwolfie, Nov 20th, 2011 @ 11:18am

    WTF!?!

    The northern lights aren't "owned" by anybody. How can they be? They are a natural phenomenon that happens when particles from the sun enter the atmosphere. And they can be seen quite far south if the conditions are right.

    Are these idiots going to sue people for infringement if we happen to see the northern lights from Glasgow (Scotland) or even London (England)?

    This whole thing is just stupid and idiotic and one more reason to dig a hole and hide in it until the world ends.

     

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    andrea, Nov 20th, 2011 @ 7:05pm

    Silly people, everyone knows Canada owns them.

     

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    Fushta (profile), Nov 21st, 2011 @ 6:51am

    Our Partial Apologies

    I am only 1/6 Finnish, so on behalf of 16.666666666666666666666666666667% of the Finnish population, I apologize.

     

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    Conscientiouspirate (profile), Nov 21st, 2011 @ 9:25am

    As a Norwegian, I feel a few points need to be clarified.

    1) The Finns are completely crazy. The northern lights are visible from northern Norway 80% of the time, while they are only visible from northern Finland 75% of the time. How can they want tourists to visit them with only 75% chance of northern lights instead of 80%? They're insane!

    2) We are simple people in Scandinavia, still used to the old ways of using stealing and owning things as metaphors when talking about markets. Much like Apple owning the mp3-player market and Pepsi stealing 5% of the cola market from Coca Cola last year.
    We haven't yet grasped the new ways of trademarking, copyrighting or perhaps patenting the northern lights and enforcing our rights via lawsuits, or if that fails lobbying for stricter celestial penomenon rights. We'll catch up soon though.

     

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    identicon
    The Northen Lights, Dec 2nd, 2011 @ 5:46am

    We do not recognize any borders

    We do not recognize any borders.

    No one is useless to our own glory, we walk freely in the sky.

    The Northen Lights

     

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