The Nobel Organization
The Nobel Prize system comprises a number of institutions in Sweden and Norway.
When Alfred Nobel died in 1896 he was one of Europe’s wealthiest men. In his will, the Swedish inventor and businessman ordained that his fortune should be used to endow “prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind”. Prizes were to be awarded in the areas of physics, chemistry, medicine and literature, as well as a prize for “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”. This prize, known as the Nobel Peace Prize, was to be awarded by a committee elected by the Norwegian Storting.
The Peace Prize is awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which is appointed by the Norwegian Parliament. The committee’s membership reflects the number of seats held by the various political parties. The Norwegian Nobel Institute was founded in 1904 to assist the committee in its efforts to decide who should receive the Peace Prize.
According to Alfred Nobel’s will, the other Nobel Prizes were to be awarded in Sweden. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards the prizes for Physics and Chemistry, the Karolinska Institute for Medicine, the Swedish Academy for Literature. In 1968, the Swedish central bank established the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economics in Memory of Alfred Nobel. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences was given the task of awarding the Economics prize in 1969.
The Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, which was established four years after Alfred Nobel’s death, manages the assets made available through Alfred Nobel’s will to fund the Nobel Prizes.
The Nobel Museum in Stockholm opened in 2001 and promotes interest in and knowledge of the Nobel Prizes and Alfred Nobel.
Nobel Media was created in 2004 when the Nobel Foundation decided to take control of the copyright issues surrounding the Nobel Prizes. They also run nobelprize.org. This is the official website where you can find out about all the prize winners down through the years.
The Nobel Peace Center is the latest addition to the Nobel network. The Center opened on 11 June 2005 in a stylishly converted late 19th century railway station in the heart of Oslo. Its objective is to promote awareness of the lives and work of the Nobel Peace Prize laureates and Alfred Nobel, and to encourage reflection and debate on issues relating to war, peace and conflict resolution.