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10 December, 2007; 15:30 Leave a comment Go to comments

Today is Nobel Day—the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death, and the day of the main events around the Nobel Prizes. You can read all about it around the web (and I’ve posted some links below), so I won’t go into too much detail here, except to show some photos. I’ll also mention that yesterday I went out on a bike ride, and I serendipitously ended up at Vinterviken, the site of what was once Nobel’s workshop, where he ramped up production of his invention, dynamite. Nowadays it is a cafe/restaurant, a sculpture garden, and a venue for conferences and special events….

As you probably know, the prizes were established by Alfred Nobel’s will, after he died. There is apparently an exciting story behind how it came to be that his estate was indeed uses for the prizes, rather than inherited by his family. If I find a good retelling, I’ll put that in another post.

Konserthuset, Stockholm
Originally uploaded by Faelyn

Today (and now I literally mean today), we have the two major events, the awards ceremony and the dinner. The awards ceremony is held at Konserthuset, the Stockholm Concert Hall. Designed by Ivar Tengbom and completed in 1926, it is a bit of an odd building with its roman-inspired classical columns contrasting with a very non-classical choice of paint color: a striking cobalt-blue. For most of the year, this is where the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra holds its concerts.

The Blue Room
Originally uploaded by knipknap

Sometime later tonight will be the other event, which I think is a bit more discussed: the banquet. This is held at my favorite building in Stockholm (for now, anyway), Stadshuset, or Stockholm City Hall. In keeping with the “blue” theme, the dinner is held in the “blue room”, which is also a bit odd in that there is nothing blue in it. Originally it was to be painted blue, but when the architect saw the completed brick walls, he loved the color of the red bricks so much that he changed his mind and left them bare (as he had a tendency to do with many aspects of the building’s construction).

The English-language web site The Local has put together a great collection of articles on the Nobel Prizes, so I’ll leave it to them to describe more, but first I’ll also point you to a couple articles by a friend of mine who has been scurrying around Stockholm for the past five days, from press conference to lecture to interview to whatever’s-next, covering the visit by one of this year’s laureates, Oliver Smithies, for the Raleigh, NC-based News Observer and for The Local. Here are Majsan’s articles:

And here are the more general articles in The Local on the Nobel events:

Categories: holidays
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