The Nobel Prize award ceremonies and banquets

What happens on 10 December, the date that new laureates receive their Nobel Prize?

Since 1901, the Nobel Prizes have been presented to new laureates at ceremonies on 10 December, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.

As stipulated in the will of the Swedish-born inventor and international industrialist Alfred Nobel, which was opened after his death in 1896, the Nobel Prizes in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine and literature are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, while the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway. Since 1969 an additional prize has been awarded at the ceremony in Stockholm, the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, which was established in 1968 on the occasion of the Riksbank’s 300th anniversary.

Nobel Prize award ceremony at Konserthuset Stockholm, 10 December 2019. © Nobel Media. Photo: Nanaka Adachi

The award ceremony in Stockholm has, almost without exception, taken place at Konserthuset Stockholm (the Stockholm Concert Hall) since 1926. In Oslo, the ceremony was for many years held at the Nobel Institute. From 1947 till 1990, the setting was the auditorium of the University of Oslo. In 1990 the event moved to the Oslo City Hall. At the Nobel Prize award ceremony in Stockholm, speeches present the laureates and their discovery or work, after which His Majesty the King of Sweden hands each laureate a diploma and a medal.

The ceremony is followed by a banquet at the Stockholm City Hall (Stockholms Stadshus) for about 1,300 people, including 250 students. With a few exceptions, the Nobel Prize banquet has taken place at the City Hall since 1930. The Nobel Prize festivities in Stockholm are arranged by the Nobel Foundation and are primarily an academic celebration focusing on science and literature. In addition to the Nobel Prize laureates and their families, Their Majesties the King and Queen and other members of the Royal Family of Sweden are guests of honour at both the award ceremony and the banquet. Representatives of the Swedish Government and Parliament also participate. International guests enjoy priority, especially those who represent the sciences and cultural life. Swedish guests are people who participate in Nobel Prize-related functions in one capacity or another, aid the sciences through donations or otherwise support the Nobel Foundation and the prize awarding.

Nobel Banquet at the Stockholm City Hall, 2019. © Nobel Media. Photo: Nanaka Adachi

In Oslo the Nobel Peace Prize is presented by the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee in the presence of Their Majesties the King and Queen of Norway, the Government, Storting representatives and an invited audience. Several hundred seats are reserved for persons with special reasons for wishing to attend the ceremony. Later the same day, the Norwegian Nobel Committee hosts a banquet in honour of the laureate or laureates, with specially invited guests.

Oslo City Hall
View of the Oslo City Hall during the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony on 10 December 2001. Copyright © Pressens Bild AB 2001,, SE-112 88 Stockholm, Sweden

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