Alfred Nobel – from dynamite to a peace prize
Few Swedes are known worldwide and can be described as both revolutionary and controversial. Swedish chemist and engineer Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) was during his lifetime best known for his experiments with nitroglycerin. Nitroglycerin is an explosive and unstable liquid. He sought for a way to make nitroglycerin more stable so that it was safer to work with. On September 3, 1864, however, an terrible accident happened. One of his experiments blew his lab. There were 5 or 6 deaths, including his younger brother Emil.
Even after the explosion in which his brother died, Alfred continued the research and experimentations. In 1866 it eventually led to the discovery or invention of dynamite. His other inventions of explosives were successful as well. Soon he became a multimillionaire, he had 355 patents, and factories and laboratories in almost 100 locations across 20 countries.
When Alfred in 1888 in a French newspaper read that he had died (the fault of the newspaper, not Alfred, but his elder brother Ludvig died), he was very affected by the negative articles about him. He was criticized for his inventions that have made many human victims. This was the reason for Alfred Nobel to put up a will saying that most of his inheritance had to go to a fund. Alfred Nobel left nearly 32 million Swedish kronor. The Nobel Fund manages its legacy and from the interest of the Nobel fund the annual Nobel Prizes are financed. By awarding prizes for physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace, he wanted to clear his name.
Alfred Nobel died after a stroke, in the Italian town of San Remo on December 10, 1896. To this day the flowers for the Nobel Banquet in Stockholm are coming from San Remo.
The Stockholm of Alfred Nobel
Of course the Nobel Museum may not be missing in this list. The museum is located in the former stock exchange, since 2001. You’ll learn more about the life and inventions of Alfred Nobel, and of course all winners of the Nobel Prize also get a spot in the spotlight.
I recommend you to take the time for fika at Bistro Nobel. You can taste the original Nobel ice cream. Don’t forget to turn your chair upside down. All seats are have a signature of one of the Nobel laureates.
This blue building at Hötorget is the place where every year the Nobel Prizes are awarded on December 10, by the Swedish King Carl Gustav XVI.
After the ceremony in Konserthuset the VIP’s go to Stadshuset. The Blue Hall in the Stockholm City Hall is the set for the famous Nobel Banquet. This feast is followed by a dance party in the Golden Hall or Gyllene Salen.
Laureates of the Nobel Prize sleep at Grand Hotel. If you thought about staying at the Grand Hotel the night of December 10, you might have to reconsider as it will be almost impossible to find a vacant room.
Alfred Nobel is buried in this cemetery in Solna (near Hagaparken). The grave or rather a memorial of Ingrid Bergman can be found here as well. Alfred Nobel’s tomb can be found in “kvarter 04A, grave number 170 ‘, not far from the information point.
The villa Heleneborg, near Lorensbergsgatan, was were Nobel’s laboratory (his father) was situated. It is here where his younger brother Emil was killed in an explosion during the research for the later dynamite. It is one of the last buildings (in yellow bricks) at Söder Mälarstrand before you get to Långholmen.
This former factory now houses a park, a coffee bar and event venue but it is here that Alfred Nobel in 1866 invented the dynamite. Vinterviken is located in Gröndal, just below Stora Essingen.
Nobel locations outside Stockholm
Alfred Nobel traveled a lot and often. Outside of Stockholm you can also find a lot of places with a link to Nobel.
The summer house in Karslkoga (Värmland) has been converted into smaller Nobel Museum where you can find include a reconstruction of his laboratory.
Villa My Nest in San Remo can be visited since 2002. The house is partially furnished with original furniture. There are regularly new exhibitions.
Nobel Week Lights
Since 2020 they also organize a light festival in the weeks around the awarding of the Nobel Prizes. Nobel Week Lights has several light installations on locations througout Stockholm.