The Most Famous Norwegian Politicians

Norway has a political system that leads to plenty of more or less famous politicians, just like most countries. Most of these never really reaches an international level of fame, but we do have some famous politicians that are well-known to people even outside of Norway and Scandinavia.

Most of the politicians on this list are great people, but we do also have a certain infamous Norwegian politician that is known for his betrayal during the World War II.

Anyway, let’s take a closer look at some of the most famous Norwegian politicians and what they are known for.

1) Jens Stoltenberg

Jens Stolenberg was the prime minister of Norway from 2005 to 2013, and was regarded as a very good politician during this time period. He had a brief period as prime minister in 2000 – 2001 as well, and was the youngest Norwegian prime minister in history during this period with his 41 years of age.

If you’re following the current news, then you have likely seen Jens Stolenberg a lot lately. This is because his current position as Secretary General of NATO, which is the leader position of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. So you can usually see him give stern speeches to Russia these days.

He got his job as Secretary General of NATO in 2014 just after he left the prime minister post, and was supposed to quit this job in 2022. He got hired as the leader of Norges Bank (the central bank of Norway), but was asked to instead keep working at Secretary General of NATO after the invasion of Ukraine.

Jens Stoltenberg
Jens Stoltenberg. Photo by Eirik U. Birkeland / CC BY-SA 3.0.

2) Gro Harlem Brundtland

Gro Harlem Brundtland was the first female prime minister of Norway, ruling Norway for several periods in 1981, 86-89 and 90-96. She has a background as a doctor, and was very interested in sustainable development.

One of the biggest achievements from Gro Harlem Brundtland was the Brundtland Commission, a sub-organization of the United Nations that aimed at helping developing countries have sustainable development.

Gro Harlem Brundtland was the Director-General of the World Health Organization between 1998 and 2004, at which point she returned to Norwegian politics and once again became prime minister.

Gro Harlem Brundtland
Gro Harlem Brundtland. Photo by Fronteiras do Pensamento / CC BY-SA 2.0.

3) Vidkun Quisling

Vidkun Quisling is unfortunately on the list. Most Norwegians despise him for his treason against the Norwegian people during WWII, but he’s still pretty infamous on an international level.

The term to be a quisling originated from this guy, and is used as a synonym to traitor. It’s a pretty popular term in Scandinavian languages, but it can also be used in English.

Vidkun Quisling ruled the German occupied Norway during parts of World War II, and was hanged for treason after the country was liberated.

4) Trygve Lie

Trygve Lie was a Norwegian politician that was action during the 1940s until the 1960s, and held several different highly regarded political positions during his career. He operated as the foreign minister during the WWII, which was obviously a very important job.

He is known internationally because of his post as Secretary-General of the United Nations, the de-facto leader of United Nations, where he was the Secretary-General from 1946 to 1952.

Trygve Lie
Trygve Lie. Photo published with permission.

Most Norwegian politicians are not really known outside of Norway

Many Norwegian politicians get a type of almost celebrity brand here in Norway, but very few reach a level of international fame. Norwegian politicians tend to stay inside Norway, and only a selected few end up in high positions internationally. These are mainly the few mentioned above.

On a grand scale, Norway and Norwegian politics is not really that interesting for most of the world, which isn’t all that surprising.

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