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Following in the Footsteps of Alfred Nobel

3. Dec 2021
by Dawn Jorgensen

Alfred Nobel the Swedish philanthropist and businessman lived and indeed journeyed around Europe extensively. You too can follow in his footsteps by visiting some of the European cities that he travelled to or resided in during his lifetime.  

On December 10th every year, the eyes of the world turn towards Olso, the capital city of Norway, where the recipient/s of the Nobel Peace Prize is presented their award with great pomp. The founder of the awards, Alfred Bernhard Nobel was born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1833. Nobel was an acclaimed scientist, businessman, and the inventor of dynamite. Five years after his death at his home in Italy, in 1896, the first Nobel Prize was awarded.

In Alfred Nobel’s last will, he declared that much of his vast fortune was to be used to award prizes to those who have done their best for humanity in the field of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, with a peace prize to be given ‘to the person who has done the most or best to advance fellowship among nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and the establishment and promotion of peace.’

The Nobel Prizes in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine and literature are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, while the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded and presented in Oslo, Norway – and has been since 1901. Nobel Prizes are widely regarded as the most prestigious awards available in their respective fields. The prize ceremonies take place annually and each laureate receives a gold medal, a diploma, and a monetary award.

Basic guidelines dictate that a prize may not be shared among more than three individuals, although the Nobel Peace Prize can be awarded to organisations. Famous prize recipients include Alexander Fleming & Co. for their discovery of penicillin. Marie Curie, twice awarded for physics in 1903 and chemistry in 1911. Albert Einstein in physics in 1921. Nobel Peace Prize winners Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and Malala Yousafzai, who was just 17 years old at the time.

To celebrate the life of Alfred Nobel, has listed five of the European cities with which he is associated that you too can visit:

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden

Alfred Nobel was born and buried in Stockholm and always considered Sweden home, making visits to the city of his birth throughout the years. As the capital of Sweden, Stockholm encompasses fourteen islands and more than fifty bridges on an extensive and picturesque Baltic Sea archipelago. The city’s contemporary, urban appeal is balanced with centuries-old history and proximity to nature. It seems as if wherever you look, you gaze upon water. Stockholm’s various districts each have their unique ambience. The island of Södermalm has a laid-back air and draws for the creative set, while Östermalm remains the picture of refined elegance. Between the two is Norrmalm, a busy and vibrant downtown area. Just south of there, you will find the charming medieval urban core of Gamla Stan with its cobblestone streets and ochre-coloured buildings, the old town is home to the 13th-century Storkyrkan Cathedral, the Kungliga Slottet Royal Palace, and the Nobel Museum. A forward-thinking, innovative city, Stockholm is a city where land meets the sea and a place where history meets modernity. Trends in music, design, fashion, and technology are born here, and innovations that spread worldwide are invented here. Appreciated for its tolerant, inclusive society that is welcoming of everyone – the city delights visitors from around the world.

The Grand Hôtel in Stockholm

Where to stay: The Grand Hôtel in Stockholm

Overlooking the Royal Palace and Old Town, the iconic  Grand Hôtel in Stockholm offers 300 spectacular rooms and suites that blend elements of the property’s rich legacy with modern luxury. Mathias Dahlgren’s Matbaren is legendary on Stockholm’s restaurant scene, and right next to it you will find his lacto-ovo vegetarian restaurant Rutabaga. The Veranda restaurant is perfect for all occasions. With a state-of-the-art Nordic spa and fitness club, saunas, and dipping pools, the Grand Hôtel’s true hallmark remains its impeccable service which is set to cater to your every whim.

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Oslo, Norway

Oslo, Norway

The Norwegian Nobel Institute was established in 1904 and moved into its present building in central Oslo, close to the Royal Palace, in 1905. The building, which was built in 1867, is a classic mansion house and is from where the Nobel Peace Prize winner is announced in early October. On December 10th, the prize is presented in Oslo City Hall. Oslo, as the heart of Scandinavian heritage and the capital of Norway, is a breath of clean, fresh air and brims with culture and history. Best known for its amazing natural landscapes, phenomenal fjords, and delightful sauna houses, the city is a melting pot for people from all over the world. With immaculate streets to explore and amazing architecture to discover, famed tourist attractions include Vigeland Sculpture Park and the Oslofjord. About half of the city has been reserved as urban green spaces and the rest for art spaces, coffee shops and slick stores. One of the top attractions is the Viking Ship Museum which houses three original ships in pristine condition. More than a thousand years old, at least one of the ships was captained by a woman and you can view her Chinese silk material and jewellery boxes. Surrounded by mountains and sea, this compact, cultured, and pristine city has a palpable sense of reinvention – and the long summer nights mean there is plenty of time for revelling in it. Oslo City Hall is open to visitors, as is the Nobel Peace Center, a museum dedicated to the Nobel Peace Prize and the ideals it represents.

 Grand Hotel Oslo By Scandic

Where to stay: Grand Hotel Oslo By Scandic

The Grand Hotel Oslo By Scandic, Norway’s most iconic hotel, is a sophisticated combination of comfort and elegance. Since 1874 the legendary hotel has hosted international guests, celebrities, and from the early 20th century, Nobel Peace Prize winners. The hotel offers 274 rooms, including fifty-four suites. Experience the fine restaurants, lobby bar, relaxing spa, or enjoy refreshments at the stylish rooftop bar. Only five hundred metres from the Royal Palace on Karl Johan high street, the city’s best luxury boutiques are just a few minutes’ walk away. Nobel Peace Prize laureates traditionally make a speech from the balcony of the Nobel Suite and the hotel holds a banquet for the winner of the award.

Read the expert review and find the best rates for the Grand Hotel Oslo By Scandic

Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg, Germany

Between 1865 and 1873 Alfred Nobel's home, laboratory, and the focal point of his business was in Hamburg. A major port city in northern Germany and at the head of the long funnel-shaped estuary that connects the Elbe River to the North Sea. Crossed by hundreds of canals and large parklands, at its core is Inner Alster lake. The only part of old Hamburg to survive centuries of fires and wars is the narrow, curving Deichstrasse gives a true sense of the city's Hansa past. Built long before the 19th-century warehouses and 21st-century harbourside complexes, Deichstrasse takes you straight onto a bridge over one of the city's many canals. A second footbridge leads into the trendy Hafencity neighbourhood, where old and new mix in a blend of neo-Hansa brick, and contemporary steel-and-glass apartments, their balconies jutting out over attractive cafés. The city's central Jungfernstieg Boulevard connects the Neustadt – a new town with the Altstadt – old town, home to landmarks like 18th-century St. Michael’s Church. Many of the most interesting things to do in Hamburg are in this port area. Time there will allow you to understand why Hamburg has become one of Europe's most important cultural and commercial centres, as well as an increasingly popular tourist hotspot.

Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten

Where to stay: Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten

In a grand 1897 building overlooking Aussenalster Lake, Hamburg’s luxurious Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten is the epitome of a traditional European hotel. From the beautifully decorated lounge to the luxurious rooftop spa, it offers 156 elegant rooms and suites to choose from. At the 2 Michelin star Haerlin savour Mediterranean and French influenced creations, and at Jahreszeiten Grill, fine cuisine in a beautiful 1920s Art Deco setting. While designer restaurant NIKKEI NINE is home to innovative Japanese and Peruvian fusion. For relaxation with a view head to the Spa & Fitness Club, a wellness oasis with saunas and steam baths, as well as a relaxation area with a fireplace, library, and rooftop terrace.

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Paris, France

Paris, France

In 1873 at age 40, Alfred Nobel settled in Paris. An admirer of French literature and culture, the lively city had all the influences he had been seeking. Already a wealthy man, he bought an elegant mansion on Avenue Malakoff, a fashionable quarter near the Arc de Triomphe and Bois-de-Boulogne and made it his home. A must-see city for any lover of art, fashion, history, and romance, in Paris visit Musée d'Orsay, shop the biggest designers on the Champs Élysées and take in the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower. Add to that the vast art collections, cobbled walkways, and graceful bridges along the River Seine. With stately museums, centuries-old churches, and blocks of Rococo and Neoclassic architecture, Paris is further enhanced by the ancient trees and glowing streetlamps. Linger in The Louvre, constructed in the 12th Century and previously a royal citadel that is now home to the world's great artistic masterpieces, not least Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. Soak up the simple pleasure of meandering through the various arrondissements, stop for a glass of fine French wine or an espresso at one of the art nouveau cafes' with their wicker chairs perfectly placed for people watching. Marvel at the Arc de Triomphe, pay respects to the Unknown Soldier, search out Monet’s Water Lilies at Musée de l’Orangerie and climb the 300 steps of Sacré-Cœur to make a wish.

 Four Seasons George V Paris

Where to stay: Four Seasons George V Paris

Just steps from the Champs-Elysées on Georges V Avenue, the Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris enjoys an ideal location in the Golden Triangle so famous for its high-fashion boutiques. Featuring suites with private terraces and commanding city views, signature flower displays, top-of-the-line spa treatments and a 17-metre swimming pool. Indulge in Classic French cuisine at the three-Michelin stars Le Cinq restaurant. Dine at the chic La Galerie, a favourite among fashionable Parisians, or at Le George which serves light Mediterranean cuisine designed for sharing. The 7 metre high conservatory offers views of the marble courtyard and houses the 1-Michelin star Orangerie Restaurant.

Read the expert review and find the best rates for The Four Seasons George V Paris

For more of the finest hotels in Paris, read the guide to The Best Luxury Hotels In Paris

San Remo, Italy

San Remo, Italy

Alfred Nobel spent the last five years of his life in a lovely villa overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in San Remo on the Italian Riviera. Founded in Roman times, San Remo is regularly referred to as the 'city of flowers', something that is celebrated on the last Sunday of each March with a procession through the streets. An important social centre and popular coastal resort until the middle of the 20th century, you will find many of San Remo’s grand houses and hotels dating from that period. Among them is the villa where Alfred Nobel lived, and another was once home to famed composer Tchaikovsky. Stroll around Porto Vecchio, the city’s charming old harbour. In the Palazzo Borea d'Olmo find a small museum exhibiting local artefacts and artworks. Visit the Sanctuary of Madonna della Costa, built above the town in the 17th and 18th centuries it is believed to guide sailors home from sea. Another notable structure is the Russian Orthodox church, the Chiesa Russa Ortodessia built for the Russians who followed the Russian Tsarina to San Remo, which she made her home during its heyday. The 12th-century San Siro Cathedral with its 12-bell tower, plus a huge crucifix above its altar, is also worth a visit.

Royal Hotel Sanremo

Where to stay: Royal Hotel Sanremo

Set within tropical grounds overlooking the Mediterranean Sea on the charming Italian Riviera, the Royal Hotel Sanremo dates back to 1872 and over the years has played home to European royalty and aristocracy. Retaining its original style with a touch of modern design, the hotel honours tradition with a timeless charm and impeccable service. It features a heated sea-water swimming pool and serves top-rated cuisine in Fiori di Murano, Il Giardino and Corallina. The Royal Wellness spa pampers guests in a stylish atmosphere, with on-property tennis and activities offered nearby.

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