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.

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Comments on “Finns And Norwegians Argue Over Who Owns The Northern Lights”

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That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

PopeRatzo (profile) says:

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.

hmm (profile) says:

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… wait…stop….forget I just said that part!

That Anonymous Coward says:


“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.

mhenriday (profile) says:

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 !…


Atkray (profile) says:


“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.

aikiwolfie (profile) says:


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.

Conscientiouspirate (profile) says:

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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