The Most Famous

POLITICIANS from Norway

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This page contains a list of the greatest Norwegian Politicians. The pantheon dataset contains 19,576 Politicians, 118 of which were born in Norway. This makes Norway the birth place of the 27th most number of Politicians behind Belgium, and Portugal.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Norwegian Politicians of all time. This list of famous Norwegian Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Norwegian Politicians.

Photo of Harald V of Norway

1. Harald V of Norway (b. 1937)

With an HPI of 82.09, Harald V of Norway is the most famous Norwegian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 89 different languages on wikipedia.

Harald V (Norwegian: Harald den femte, Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈhɑ̂rːɑɫ dɛn ˈfɛ̂mtə]; born 21 February 1937) is King of Norway. He succeeded to the throne on 17 January 1991. Harald was the third child and only son of King Olav V of Norway and Princess Märtha of Sweden. He was second in the line of succession at the time of his birth, behind his father. In 1940, as a result of the German occupation during World War II, the royal family went into exile. Harald spent part of his childhood in Sweden and the United States. He returned to Norway in 1945, and subsequently studied for periods at the University of Oslo, the Norwegian Military Academy, and Balliol College, Oxford. Following the death of his grandfather Haakon VII in 1957, Harald became crown prince as his father became king. Harald became king following his father's death in 1991. He married Sonja Haraldsen in 1968, their relationship having initially been controversial due to her status as a commoner. They have two children, their elder child Märtha Louise and their younger child Haakon, who became heir apparent due to male-preference primogeniture. Märtha Louise is engaged to conspiracy theorist Durek Verrett. A keen sportsman, he represented Norway in sailing at the 1964, 1968, and 1972 Olympic Games, and later became patron of World Sailing.

Photo of Harald Fairhair

2. Harald Fairhair (850 - 933)

With an HPI of 74.21, Harald Fairhair is the 2nd most famous Norwegian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 48 different languages.

Harald Fairhair (Old Norse: Haraldr Hárfagri) (c. 850 – c. 932) was a Norwegian king. According to traditions current in Norway and Iceland in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, he reigned from c. 872 to 930 and was the first King of Norway. Supposedly, two of his sons, Eric Bloodaxe and Haakon the Good, succeeded Harald to become kings after his death. Much of Harald's biography is uncertain. A couple of praise poems by his court poet Þorbjörn Hornklofi survive in fragments, but the extant accounts of his life come from sagas set down in writing around three centuries after his lifetime. His life is described in several of the Kings' sagas, none of them older than the twelfth century. Their accounts of Harald and his life differ on many points, but it is clear that in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries Harald was regarded as having unified Norway into one kingdom. Since the nineteenth century, when Norway was in a personal union with Sweden, Harald has become a national icon of Norway and a symbol of independence. Though the king's sagas and medieval accounts have been critically scrutinised during the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, Harald maintains a reputation as the father of the Norwegian nation. At the turn of the 21st century, a few historians have tried to argue that Harald Fairhair did not exist as a historical figure.

Photo of Gro Harlem Brundtland

3. Gro Harlem Brundtland (b. 1939)

With an HPI of 70.96, Gro Harlem Brundtland is the 3rd most famous Norwegian Politician.  Her biography has been translated into 79 different languages.

Gro Brundtland (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈɡruː ˈhɑ̀ːlɛm ˈbrʉ̀ntlɑnː]; born Gro Harlem, 20 April 1939) is a Norwegian politician (Arbeiderpartiet), who served three terms as the 29th prime minister of Norway (1981, 1986–1989, and 1990–1996), as the leader of the Labour Party from 1981 to 1992, and as the director-general of the World Health Organization from 1998 to 2003. She is also known for having chaired the Brundtland Commission which presented the Brundtland Report on sustainable development. Educated as a physician, Brundtland joined the Labour Party and entered the government in 1974 as Minister of the Environment. She became the first female prime minister of Norway on 4 February 1981, but left office on 14 October 1981; she returned as prime minister on 9 May 1986 and served until 16 October 1989. She finally returned for her third term on 3 November 1990. After her surprise resignation as prime minister in 1996, she became an international leader in sustainable development and public health, and served as Director-General of the World Health Organization and as UN Special Envoy on Climate Change from 2007 to 2010. She is also deputy chair of The Elders and a former vice-president of Socialist International. Brundtland belonged to the moderate wing of her party and supported Norwegian membership in the European Union during the 1994 referendum. As prime minister, Brundtland became widely known as the "mother of the nation". Brundtland received the 1994 Charlemagne Prize, and has received many other awards and recognitions.

Photo of Olaf II of Denmark

4. Olaf II of Denmark (1370 - 1387)

With an HPI of 69.62, Olaf II of Denmark is the 4th most famous Norwegian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 39 different languages.

Olaf II of Denmark (December 1370 – 3 August 1387) was King of Denmark as Olaf II (though occasionally referred to as Olaf III) from 1376 and King of Norway as Olav IV from 1380 until his death. Olaf was the son of Queen Margaret I of Denmark and King Haakon VI of Norway, and grandson of kings Magnus IV of Sweden and Valdemar IV of Denmark.

Photo of Trygve Lie

5. Trygve Lie (1896 - 1968)

With an HPI of 69.56, Trygve Lie is the 5th most famous Norwegian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 76 different languages.

Trygve Halvdan Lie ( LEE, Norwegian: [ˈtrʏ̂gʋə ˈliː] ; 16 July 1896 – 30 December 1968) was a Norwegian politician, labour leader, government official and author. He served as Norwegian foreign minister during the critical years of the Norwegian government in exile in London from 1940 to 1945. From 1946 to 1952 he was the first Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Photo of Olaf II of Norway

6. Olaf II of Norway (993 - 1030)

With an HPI of 69.52, Olaf II of Norway is the 6th most famous Norwegian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 47 different languages.

Olaf II Haraldsson (c. 995 – 29 July 1030), also Olav Haraldsson, later known as Saint Olaf and Olaf the Holy, was King of Norway from 1015 to 1028. Son of Harald Grenske, a petty king in Vestfold, Norway, he was posthumously given the title Rex Perpetuus Norvegiae (English: Eternal/Perpetual King of Norway) and canonised at Nidaros (Trondheim) by Bishop Grimketel, one year after his death in the Battle of Stiklestad on 29 July 1030. His remains were enshrined in Nidaros Cathedral, built over his burial site. His sainthood encouraged the widespread adoption of Christianity by Scandinavia's Vikings/Norsemen. Pope Alexander III confirmed Olaf's local canonisation in 1164, making him a recognised saint of the Catholic Church, and Olaf started to be known as Rex Perpetuus Norvegiae – eternal king of Norway. Following the Reformation, he was a commemorated historical figure among some members of the Lutheran and Anglican Communions. The saga of Olav Haraldsson and the legend of Olaf the Saint became central to a national identity. Especially during the period of romantic nationalism, Olaf was a symbol of Norwegian independence and pride. Saint Olaf is symbolised by the axe in Norway's coat of arms and Olsok (29 July) is still his day of celebration. Many Christian institutions with Scandinavian links as well as Norway's Order of St. Olav are named after him.

Photo of Jens Stoltenberg

7. Jens Stoltenberg (b. 1959)

With an HPI of 68.79, Jens Stoltenberg is the 7th most famous Norwegian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 81 different languages.

Jens Stoltenberg (Norwegian: [jɛns ˈstɔ̀ɫtn̩bærɡ]; born 16 March 1959) is a Norwegian politician who has served as the 13th secretary general of NATO since 2014. A member of the Norwegian Labour Party, he previously served as the 34th prime minister of Norway from 2000 to 2001 and again from 2005 until 2013. Born in Oslo as the son of the prominent diplomat and politician Thorvald Stoltenberg and politician Karin Stoltenberg (née Heiberg), Stoltenberg attended Oslo Waldorf School and Oslo Cathedral School before graduating with a degree in economics from the University of Oslo in 1987. During his studies, he worked as a journalist, and led Labour's youth wing from 1985 to 1989. He started his career in government as a state secretary in the Ministry of the Environment in 1990 and was elected to the Storting in 1993. He served as Minister of Industry and Energy from 1993 to 1996 and Minister of Finance from 1996 to 1997. He was prime minister from 2000 to 2001, was leader of the Labour Party from 2002 to 2014, and served as prime minister for a second time from 2005 to 2013. The following year, he was named as the 13th secretary general of NATO, and his term was subsequently extended four times by the NATO heads of state and government. Stoltenberg has been described as a cautious politician, belonging to the right-wing of social democracy. When he became prime minister in 2000, he was portrayed as the "Norwegian Tony Blair", and his policies were inspired by Blair's New Labour agenda; his first government oversaw the most widespread privatisation by any Norwegian government to that date. Stoltenberg said he was both inspired by and wanted to learn from Blair's policies. As the second longest-serving high-ranking official in NATO history, Stoltenberg has worked to expand the alliance into Eastern Europe and to strengthen the alliance's military capabilities in response to the Russo-Ukrainian War, and his tenure coincided with the largest increase in NATO defense spending since the Cold War.

Photo of Vidkun Quisling

8. Vidkun Quisling (1887 - 1945)

With an HPI of 68.61, Vidkun Quisling is the 8th most famous Norwegian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 63 different languages.

Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonssøn Quisling (, Norwegian: [ˈvɪ̂dkʉn ˈkvɪ̂slɪŋ] ; 18 July 1887 – 24 October 1945) was a Norwegian military officer, politician and Nazi collaborator who nominally headed the government of Norway during the country's occupation by Nazi Germany during World War II. He first came to international prominence as a close collaborator of the explorer Fridtjof Nansen, and through organising humanitarian relief during the Russian famine of 1921 in Povolzhye. He was posted as a Norwegian diplomat to the Soviet Union and for some time also managed British diplomatic affairs there. He returned to Norway in 1929 and served as minister of defence in the agrarian governments of Peder Kolstad (1931–32) and Jens Hundseid (1932–33). In 1933, Quisling founded the fascist Nasjonal Samling (National Gathering). Although he gained some popularity after his attacks on the political left, his party failed to win any seats in the Storting, and by 1940, it was still little more than peripheral. On 9 April 1940, with the German invasion of Norway in progress, he attempted to seize power in the world's first radio-broadcast coup d'état but failed since the Germans sought to convince the recognized Norwegian government to legitimize the German occupation, as had been done in Denmark during the simultaneous invasion there, instead of recognizing Quisling. On 1 February 1942, he formed a second government, approved by the Germans, and served as minister president. He headed the Norwegian state administration jointly with the German civilian administrator, Josef Terboven. His pro-Nazi puppet government, known as the Quisling regime, was dominated by ministers from Nasjonal Samling. The collaborationist government participated in Germany's war efforts, and sent Jews out of the country to concentration camps in occupied Poland (General Government). Quisling was put on trial during the legal purge in Norway after World War II. He was found guilty of charges including embezzlement, murder and high treason against the Norwegian state, and was sentenced to death. He was executed by firing squad at Akershus Fortress, Oslo, on 24 October 1945. Since his death, Quisling has become one of history's most infamous traitors due to his collaboration with Nazi Germany. The term quisling has become a byword for "collaborator" or "traitor" in several languages. The term reflects the contempt with which Quisling's conduct has been regarded both at the time and in the present day.

Photo of Olaf Tryggvason

9. Olaf Tryggvason (963 - 1000)

With an HPI of 68.27, Olaf Tryggvason is the 9th most famous Norwegian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 41 different languages.

Olaf Tryggvason (960s – 9 September 1000) was King of Norway from 995 to 1000. He was the son of Tryggvi Olafsson, king of Viken (Vingulmark, and Rånrike), and, according to later sagas, the great-grandson of Harald Fairhair, first King of Norway. He is numbered as Olaf I. Olaf was important in the conversion of the Norse to Christianity, but he did so forcibly within his own kingdom. He is said to have built the first Christian church in Norway in 995, and to have founded the city of Trondheim in 997. A statue dedicated to him is located in the city's central plaza. Historical information on Olaf is sparse. He is mentioned in some contemporary English sources, and some skaldic poems. The oldest narrative source mentioning him briefly is Adam of Bremen's Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum of circa 1070. In the 1190s, two Latin versions of "Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar" were written in Iceland, by Oddr Snorrason and Gunnlaugr Leifsson – these are now lost, but are thought to form the basis of later Norse versions. Snorri Sturluson gives an extensive account of Olaf in the Heimskringla saga of circa 1230, using Oddr Snorrason's saga as his primary source. Modern historians do not assume that these late sources are accurate, and their credibility is debated. The most detailed account is named Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar en mesta ("Greatest Saga of Óláfr Tryggvason") and is recorded in the Flateyjarbók, and in the early 15th-century Bergsbók.

Photo of Eric Bloodaxe

10. Eric Bloodaxe (885 - 954)

With an HPI of 67.80, Eric Bloodaxe is the 10th most famous Norwegian Politician.  His biography has been translated into 44 different languages.

Eric Haraldsson (Old Norse: Eiríkr Haraldsson [ˈɛiˌriːkʀ ˈhɑrˌɑldsˌson], Norwegian: Eirik Haraldsson; fl. c.930−954), nicknamed Bloodaxe (Old Norse: blóðøx [ˈbloːðˌøks], Norwegian: Blodøks) and Brother-Slayer (Latin: fratrum interfector), was a Norwegian king. He ruled as King of Norway from 932 to 934, and twice as King of Northumbria: from 947 to 948, and again from 952 to 954.

People

Pantheon has 129 people classified as Norwegian politicians born between 810 and 2003. Of these 129, 46 (35.66%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living Norwegian politicians include Harald V of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland, and Jens Stoltenberg. The most famous deceased Norwegian politicians include Harald Fairhair, Olaf II of Denmark, and Trygve Lie. As of April 2024, 9 new Norwegian politicians have been added to Pantheon including Einar Thambarskelfir, Sigurd Ibsen, and Magne Thomassen.

Living Norwegian Politicians

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Deceased Norwegian Politicians

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Newly Added Norwegian Politicians (2024)

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Overlapping Lives

Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.