How to Steal a Mountain

I found this story on an episode of QI (series N, episode “Noodles”).

The Alps, as you are probably well aware, span about eight countries in Europe in a cluster in and above Italy, as seen here:


So how is it possible that the highest peak of the Alps is about 1,000 miles away, in Haarlem, Netherlands?

Because a dude cut the top off the highest mountain and brought it back home with him.

In 1787, geologist and alpine explorer Horace-Bénédict de Saussure led the first expedition of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps (his first attempt was unsuccessful, then two other men managed to beat him to the summit the year after his first attempt, and then he followed them successfully the year after that).

Upon reaching the summit, he chipped off what he considered to be the very highest point, and kept it as a souvenir:

The "Top of the Mont Blanc" at display in Teylers Museum

The “Top of the Mont Blanc” at display in Teylers Museum

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