During the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize, the eyes of the world are fixed on Oslo. During the Nobel Days, there are many exciting things happening in the city. If you’re in town, you shouldn’t miss this…
Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) was a Swedish scientist, the inventor of dynamite, and one of the richest men in Europe. In spite of his explosive invention, he had a dream of serving humanity. That’s why he decided to give away his money to a fund, which would give away five prizes each year to people who had done extraordinary achievements in Chemistry, Literature, Physics or Medicine. Or Peace.
The Prize remains the single most important Peace Prize in the entire world. In 2017, the Prize will be given to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Also this caused some controversy, and the ambassadors of some countries with nuclear bombs (like USA and France) have decided not to come to the ceremony.
Why is the Nobel Peace prize awarded in Oslo?
While the other four prizes are awarded in Stockholm in Sweden, the Peace Prize is the only one to be awarded in Oslo. Why? Well, because, at the time when the prizes created, in 1896, Norway was still a part of the Swedish Kingdom, with the Norwegian capital being Stockholm. In order to “keep the peace” with the Norwegian, the Swedes decided that one prize should be awarded in Norway. So, as a symbolic gesture, they gave them the Peace Prize.
Norway declared independence from Sweden in 1905, but, well, we kept the Prize.
What’s on in Oslo?
- The ceremony is on 10 december, at 13 o’clock in the Oslo City Hall. You have to be a king, politician or ambassador to get in, but you can always follow it on the internet. Or you can stroll by the City Hall, who knows you might catch a glimpse. Or, even better, stop by some day afterwards, and explore the wonderful interior of the City Hall. With its mural paintings by Edvard Munch, it’s a must see. And, completely free!
- The torchlight walk is a magical experience. People gather around 17.30 at Oslo Central Station, with torches and candles. They walk down Karl Johans gate, and stop at the Grand Hotel, where the winners of the Prize come out and wave from the balcony.
- The Peace Prize Concert happens the day after the ceremony, 11 december, at the Telenor Arena. Big artists from Norway and the world come to honour the winners.
The Nobel Days are also the perfect time to explore the Nobel Peace Center: a museum dedicated to the Prize and its winners. It lies next to the City Hall, in the old Oslo-West station building, and is one of the most modern and interactive museums of Norway.
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Photo top: Inside Oslo City Hall (c) Jean-Pierre Dalbéra
Text: Robin Van de Walle