Upon the Island Gamla Stan, within the vast area covered by the Stockholm Archipelago and along the beautiful, old cobbled streets of what is known as the old town of Stockholm, stands a small building which houses a museum exhibiting perhaps one of the most notable foundations known world-wide – The Nobel Foundation.
The Foundation – possibly the most integral part of Alfred Nobel’s final will and testament – was created in 1900 with the intention of awarding The Nobel Prizes for Chemistry, Physics, Medicine, and Literature through the committee in Stockholm as well as the Norwegian Committee overseeing the Nobel Peace Prize. The reason behind Norway being included in the process was thought to be due to the value that Alfred Nobel placed on maintaining good relations between Sweden and Norway. The Swedish National Bank’s Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences is an addition that stands apart from the other four subjects as it was not presented in Alfred Nobel’s Will. Established in 1968, the one distinctly differing characteristic of the award in economics is that it is funded by the National Bank of Sweden as opposed to the Nobel Foundation like the others. However, it is commonly referred to as being the fifth category for the Nobel Prize, and is awarded to the laureates in the same ceremony.
There have been over 900 Laureates that have been awarded the Nobel Prize so far, including Albert Einstein in physics for his discovery in the “photoelectric Effect”, Marie Curie in chemistry and physics (the first person to receive two Nobel Prizes, and one of only two to be awarded in two different categories) for the joint discovery of Radioactivity, and her discovery of Radium and Polonium. Others include Alexander Flemming – for the discovery of penicillin, Frances Crick and James Watson – for discovering the Double Helix shape of DNA, and Martin Luther King Jr. – for his work to end racial discrimination through non-violent means in the United States of America. Malala Yousafrazi is one of the most recent and note-worthy Laureates mainly for her movement in support of education for girls and young women. But she is also known as the youngest Nobel Laureate in history, at age 17. Malala was shot in the head at point-blank range in 2012 as punishment for having a diary about her life living under a Taliban-ran community. She survived however, and in retaliation took her campaign world-wide.
These are just a handful of Laureates, out of over 900 which have made a significant contribution to our planet in some way. Within the Nobel Museum in Stockholm, you can discover just how many incredible achievements – some of which we now take for granted – were recognised and awarded by the foundation, as well as the sacrifices they all have made in the name of bettering their respective fields and subsequently, all of us. The museum includes a Café, Interactive displays, and short but informative documentaries as well as a great gift shop with rows upon rows of inspiring and compelling books written about or by the laureates. The entry fee is relatively cheap for Sweden at 120SEK for Adults, 80SEK for concessions, and children up to 18 years-old for free. They also have free guided tours which are really informative and last roughly 35-45 minutes.
It’s a great place to spend an hour or so, which will leave you feeling motivated and invigorated by the positive impacts humanity has had on the world, instead of the frequent bombardment of all the negative things we have today.