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A white and green room with a wooden table in the middle, surrounded by turquoise and wooden chairs. The walls are lined with portraits and have two dark, wooden doors.
The committee meeting room at the Norwegian Nobel Institute

The five members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee award the Nobel Peace Prize every year. They are appointed by the Parliament of Norway and roughly represent the political makeup of that body. The committee was established in 1897, and has awarded the prize most years since 1901. Fifty-four people have sat on the committee, of which ten have been women. Thirteen have been chair and six deputy chair. Since 2009, the members are former parliamentarians Thorbjørn Jagland (chair and Labour Party), Kaci Kullmann Five (deputy chair and Conservative Party), Sissel Rønbeck (Labour), Inger-Marie Ytterhorn (Progress Party) and Ågot Valle (Socialist Left Party).

Historically, the committee's members have represented seven political parties, also including the Liberal Party, the Centre Party and the Christian Democratic Party). The awards in 1935 (to Carl von Ossietzky), 1973 (to Henry Kissinger) and 1994 (to Yasser Arafat) caused members of the committee to withdraw due to disagreement with the committee decision. Six people have sat as the committee's secretary, who is also director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute. Since 1990, this has been Geir Lundestad, professor of history at the University of Oslo.



The five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee was established on 5 August 1897, after the Parliament of Norway accepted the duty to award the Nobel Peace Prize as stated in the will of Alfred Nobel.[1] The first prize was awarded in 1901.[2] The Committee is assisted by a secretariat that is part of the Norwegian Nobel Institute.[3] In 1901, the committee was renamed the The Nobel Committee of the Parliament of Norway, but this was reverted in 1977.[1] In 1948, the election system was changed to make the committee more proportional to the representation in parliament.[4] From then until 1967, the Labour Party, who held a simple majority in parliament, had three representatives in the committee.[2]

It is no longer possible for active parliamentarians to sit on the committee, except for the last half year of parliamentary representation, if they have stated that they will not run for re-election. This allowed Jagland and Valle to sit on the committee in 2009, while they were still elected. The appointment is made by parliament after nominations by the parties who are to be represented in the committee. In 2009, the Labour Party had two seats, while the three next-largest parties, the Progress Party, the Conservative Party and the Socialist Left Party, each have one representative. The remaining parties in parliament are not represented.[5]

Current members

Thorbjørn Jagland (born 5 November 1950) has sat on and chaired the committee since 2009. He is a Labour Party politician from Lier and sat in parliament representing Buskerud from 1993 to 2009. Jagland is former party leader (1992–2002), Prime Minister (1996–97), Minister of Foreign Affairs (2000–01) and President of the Parliament (2005–09). Since 2006, Jagland has chaired the Oslo Center and since 2009 been Secretary General of the Council of Europe. He holds a master's degree in economics and has never held full-time employment outside politics or in his party.[6][7]

Kaci Kullmann Five (born 13 April 1951) has sat on the committee since 2003 and been deputy chair since 2009. She is a Conservative Party politician from Bærum and sat in parliament representing Akershus from 1981 to 1997. Five is former Minister of Trade and Shipping (1989–90) and party leader (1991–94). Since leaving politics, she has been a business executive and board member, and since 2002 a consultant. She holds a master's degree in political science.[6][8]

Sissel Rønbeck (born 24 May 1950) has sat on the committee since 1994. She is a Labour Party politician from Oslo and sat in parliament representing Oslo from 1977 to 1993. Rønbeck is former Minister of Administration and Consumer Affairs (1979–81), Minister of the Environment (1986–89) and Minister of Transport and Communications (1996–97). She had leave of absence from the committee during her last term as minister. Rønbeck has no higher education. Since 1993, she has been vice president at the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage.[6][9]

Inger-Marie Ytterhorn (born 18 September 1941) has sat on the committee since 2000. She is a Progress Party politician from Bergen and Oslo, and sat in parliament representing Hordaland from 1989 to 1993, and as a deputy from 1993 to 2001. Ytterhorn has higher education in linguistics. She is a retired sole proprietor.[6][10]

Ågot Valle (born 26 May 1945) has sat on the committee since 2009. She is a Socialist Left Party politician from Levanger and Bergen and sat in parliament representing Hordaland from 1997 to 2009. She is former President of the Odelsting (2001–05) and a physiotherapist by profession, although now retired.[6][11]


Head and shoulders of a middle-aged man looking with dignity to the left of the viewer. He is bald, has a short, but stout, beard, and is wearing small glasses and a tie-less suit.
Jørgen Løvland was the first chair, from 1901 to 1921
Head and shoulders of a man in his seventies talking into a mounted microphone. He is conservatively dressed in a suite and wears round glasses.
Francis Sejersted was chair from 1991 to 1999
Half-portrait of a man in his seventies looking away from the viewer. He wears a suit and glasses.
Ole Danbolt Mjøs was chair from 2003 to 2008

The committee has had 54 different members. Thirteen people have been chair and six deputy chair. Ten women have sat on the committee, starting with Aase Lionæs in 1949. From 2009, four of the board's five members are women. Christian Lous Lange is the only person to have both sat on the committee and been its secretary, and the only peace laureate to have sat on the committee. Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson was, however, awarded the Nobel Literature Prize. The longest-serving members are Hans Jacob Horst and Aase Lionæs, who both served for 30 years. The longest-sitting chair is Gunnar Jahn, who sat for 26 years as chair and 29 years on the committee. The longest period without any changes to the committee was the 15 years from 1949 to 1963. The shortest-sitting member was Esther Kostøl, who sat for less than a year in 1997.[2][6]

Seven political parties have been represented in the committee. The first committee consisted exclusively of members of the Liberal Party. The party was represented on all committees until 1973, after which it has not had a seat. In 1907, Francis Hagerup became the first representative from the Conservative Party, and this party has been represented on the board since. The Labour Party has been represented on the board since 1919, when Halvdan Koht became a member. The Agrarian Party (since named the Centre Party) was first represented on the board by Birger Braadland in 1938. The Christian Democratic Party was first represented by Erling Wikborg in 1965, the Socialist Left Party by Hanna Kvanmo in 1991 and the Progress Party by Inger-Marie Ytterhorn in 2000.[2]

Three awards have resulted in members withdrawing from the committee. Following the 1935 award to the German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, Johan Ludwig Mowinckel and Halvdan Koht withdrew. Koht was later re-appointed to the committee.[2] Following the 1973 award to Lê Ðức Thọ and Henry Kissinger, Einar Hovdhaugen and Helge Rognlien withdrew. Following the 1994 award to Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin, Kåre Kristiansen withdrew.[2][12][13]

Member Start End Tenure (years) Party Chair Deputy chair
Jørgen Løvland 1901 1921 21 Liberal 1901–21
John Lund 1901 1912 12 Liberal
Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson 1901 1906 6 Liberal
Johannes Steen 1901 1904 4 Liberal
Hans Jacob Horst 1901 1930 30 Liberal
Carl Berner 1905 1918 14 Liberal
Francis Hagerup 1907 1920 14 Conservative
Cornelius Bernhard Hanssen 1913 1939 27 Liberal
Halvdan Koht 1919 1944 22[note 1] Labour
Fredrik Stang 1921 1940 20 Conservative 1922–40
Wollert Konow 1922 1924 3 Liberal
Christian Holtermann Knudsen 1924 1924 1 Labour
Johan Ludwig Mowinckel 1925 1936 12 Liberal
Axel Thallaug 1931 1933 3 Conservative
Christian Lous Lange 1934 1939 6 Labour
Gunnar Jahn 1938 1966 29 Liberal 1941–66
Birger Braadland 1938 1948 10[note 2] Agrarian
Anders Vassbotn 1938 1939 2 Liberal
Carl Joachim Hambro 1940 1963 22[note 3] Conservative
Martin Tranmæl 1940 1963 24 Labour
Halvard Manthey Lange 1945 1948 3[note 4] Labour
Christian Oftedal 1946 1947 2 Liberal
Herman Smitt Ingebretsen 1946 1946 1 Conservative
Aase Lionæs 1949 1978 30 Labour 1968–78
Gustav Natvig-Pedersen 1964 1966 3 Labour
Nils Langhelle 1964 1966 3 Labour 1967
John Lyng 1964 1965 2 Conservative
Erling Wikborg 1965 1969 5 Christian Democratic
Bernt Ingvaldsen 1967 1975 9 Conservative 1967
Helge Refsum 1967 1972 6 Centre
Helge Rognlien 1967 1973 7 Liberal
John Sanness 1970 1981 12 Labour 1979–81
Einar Hovdhaugen 1973 1973 1 Centre
Egil Aarvik 1974 1989 16 Christian Democratic 1982–89
Trygve Haugeland 1974 1984 11 Centre
Sjur Lindebrække 1976 1981 6 Conservative
Else Germeten 1979 1984 6 Labour
Gidske Anderson 1982 1993 12 Labour 1990 1991–93
Francis Sejersted 1982 1999 18 Conservative 1991–99
Odvar Nordli 1985 1996 12 Labour
Gunnar Stålsett 1985 2002 17[note 5] Centre 2000–02
Kaare Sandegren 1990 1996 3[note 6] Labour
Kåre Kristiansen 1991 1994 4 Christian Democratic
Hanna Kvanmo 1991 2002 12 Socialist Left 1993–98
Sissel Rønbeck 1994 present 16[note 7] Labour
Gunnar Berge 1997 2002 6 Labour 2000–02 1999
Esther Kostøl 1997 1997 1 Labour
Inger-Marie Ytterhorn 2000 present 11 Progress
Ole Danbolt Mjøs 2003 2008 6 Christian Democratic 2003–08
Berge Furre 2003 2008 6 Socialist Left 2003–08
Kaci Kullmann Five 2003 present 8 Conservative 2009–
Thorbjørn Jagland 2009 present 2 Labour 2009–
Ågot Valle 2009 present 2 Socialist Left


Head and shoulders man in his sixties who is speaking. He is wearing a casual, white shirt.
Geir Lundestad has been secretary since 1990.

Since 1990, the secretary has been Geir Lundestad (born 1945), director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute and adjunct professor of international history at the University of Oslo. He holds a doctorate from the University of Tromsø from 1976, where he worked as a associate and later professor of American civilization and then history. He has also been a research fellow at Harvard University and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.[14]

Secretary Start End Tenure (years)
Christian Lous Lange 1901 1909 9
Ragnvald Moe 1910 1945 36
August Schou 1946 1973 18
Tim Greve 1974 1977 4
Jakob Sverdrup 1978 1989 12
Geir Lundestad 1990 present 20

Notes and references



  1. ^ Halvdan Koht did not serve from 1937 through 1940[2]
  2. ^ Birger Braadland did not serve in 1941[2]
  3. ^ Carl Joachim Hambro was on leave of absence in 1946 and 1947[2]
  4. ^ Halvard Manthey Lange was on leave of absence in 1946[2]
  5. ^ Gunnar Stålsett did not serve in 1994[2]
  6. ^ Kaare Sandegren only served in 1990, during the last quarter of 1993 and the last quarter of 1996[2]
  7. ^ Sissel Rønbeck was on leave of absence in parts of 1996 and 1997[2]


  1. ^ a b Heffermehl, 2008: 53–54
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Nobel Foundation. "The Norwegian Nobel Committee Since 1901". Retrieved 14 October 2009. 
  3. ^ Norwegian Nobel Institute. "The Nobel Institute". Retrieved 15 October 2009. 
  4. ^ Heffermehl, 2008: 84–85
  5. ^ Helljesen, Geir. "Bare nordmenn i Nobelkomiteen" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 15 October 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Norwegian Nobel Institute. "Committee members". Retrieved 14 October 2009. 
  7. ^ Parliament of Norway. "Thorbjørn Jagland" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 15 October 2009. 
  8. ^ Parliament of Norway. "Kaci Kullmann Five" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 15 October 2009. 
  9. ^ Parliament of Norway. "Sissel Rønbeck" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 15 October 2009. 
  10. ^ Parliament of Norway. "Inger-Marie Ytterhorn" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 15 October 2009. 
  11. ^ Parliament of Norway. "Ågot Valle" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 15 October 2009. 
  12. ^ Nobel Foundation. "Kristiansen, Kåre Gulbrand". Retrieved 15 October 2009. 
  13. ^ Wiedswang, Kjetil. "The Other Nobel Controversy". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 17 December 2009. 
  14. ^ Nobel Foundation. "Geir Lundestad". Retrieved 15 October 2009. 



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