Odvar Nordli
Odvar Nordli 1976.jpg
Nordli in 1976.
28th Prime Minister of Norway
In office
15 January 1976 – 4 February 1981
MonarchOlav V
Preceded byTrygve Bratteli
Succeeded byGro Harlem Brundtland
County Governor of Hedmark
In office
11 March 1981 – 17 September 1994
Preceded byAnfinn Lund
Succeeded byKjell Borgen
Vice President of the Storting
In office
8 October 1981 – 30 September 1985
PresidentPer Hysing-Dahl
Preceded bySvenn Stray
Succeeded byReiulf Steen
Minister of Local Government
In office
17 March 1971 – 18 October 1972
Prime MinisterTrygve Bratteli
Preceded byHelge Rognlien
Succeeded byJohan Skipnes
Member of the Norwegian Parliament
In office
1 October 1961 – 30 September 1981
Member of the Norwegian Nobel Committee
In office
Personal details
Born(1927-11-03)3 November 1927
Tangen, Hedmark, Norway
Died9 January 2018(2018-01-09) (aged 90)
Oslo, Norway
Political partyLabour
Marit Nordli
(m. 1953)
Alma materUniversity of Oslo
St. Olavs Orden stripe.svg
Order of St. Olav
Military service
Allegiance Norway
Norwegian army coat of arms.svg
Norwegian Army
Years of service1948
OR4 NOR - Korporal Hær NY.png
Battles/warsCold War

Odvar Nordli (listen)[needs Norwegian IPA] (3 November 1927 – 9 January 2018) was a Norwegian politician from the Labour Party. He was the 28th prime minister of Norway from 1976 to 1981 during the Cold War.[1] Before serving as Prime Minister, Nordli served as the minister of Local Government from 1971 to 1972.

After serving as prime minister, Nordli served as the vice president of the Storting from 1981 until 1985, and was also a member of the Norwegian Nobel Committee from 1985 until 1996.

Early life

A son of railroad worker Eugen Nordli (1905–1991) and housewife Marie (1905–1984), born Jørgensen, Nordli grew up in Tangen in Stange, Hedmark.[2] After World War II he served in the Independent Norwegian Brigade Group in Germany, part of the Allied forces occupying post-war Germany.[3]

By education he became a certified accountant before entering politics, and worked in this field until 1961.[1] He served as deputy mayor of Stange municipality from 1951 to 1963.[2]

Early political career

He was elected to the Norwegian Parliament from Hedmark in 1961, and was re-elected on five occasions.[1] He had previously served in the position of deputy representative during the terms 1954–1957 and 1958–1961.[2]

Nordli became a cabinet member in 1971, serving as Minister of Local Government in the first cabinet Bratteli.[3]

At the Labour Party Congress in 1975 both Nordli and Reiulf Steen candidated to replace Trygve Bratteli as new leader. A compromise was worked out that made Steen the new party leader while Nordli was designated as the party's new prime minister. This became a strained arrangement and they never cooperated well.[4]

Prime Minister of Norway

Odvar Nordli and Dutch prime minister Joop den Uyl (1976)
Odvar Nordli and Dutch prime minister Joop den Uyl (1976)

Nordli became Prime Minister in 1976, heading the cabinet Nordli which succeeded the second cabinet Bratteli.[3] He had to govern through several tough cases like the so-called double-resolution over NATO and the national controversy over the damming of the Alta-Kautokeino river.[1][5]

In social policy, Nordli's premiership in 1978 saw improved sickness benefits to 100% wage compensation from day one of sickness for up to 52 weeks.[6] The previous law had not had any compensation for ordinary workers for the first 3 days and 90% compensation after that time.[6] The same year the Abortion Act of 1975 was liberalized and women were granted the right to decide on their own to have an abortion until the end of week 12 after gestation.[7] In the original act approval of a committee of doctors had been required in order to have an abortion.[7]

The Nordli cabinet under Minister of Finance Per Kleppe continued a Keynesian fiscal policy with deficit spending where Norway loaned abroad against future oil income.[8] Wages increased more than in other countries, leading to Norwegian businesses becoming less competitive. In September 1978 the government through a provisional law made a general ban against increases in wages and prices.[8] The law was in effect through 1979.[8] The cabinet also partly reversed the expansive fiscal policy.[8]

As for foreign relations during the Nordli premiership, Norway established a 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone in 1977 where Norway claimed exclusive rights to marine resources. This caused complications with Russia that also had a 200 nm fishery zone.[8] In 1978, Norway, led by maritime law minister Jens Evensen, and Russia agreed on a one year Grey Zone Agreement which was subsequently renewed until it was replaced with a permanent agreement in 2010.[9]

The 1977 Norwegian parliamentary election less than a year into Nordli's premiership was a success for Nordli and the Labour Party which continued in position, but the 1979 Norwegian local elections was a set-back, partly due to the economic situation and it weakened Nordli's position.[8]

Nordli got health problems about two years into his premiership[4] and in 1981 his doctor advised him to take a sick leave.[8] This leaked to the media before Nordli had made any decision and as a result he was soon after replaced by Gro Harlem Brundtland and another Labour cabinet, Brundtland's First Cabinet.[4]

Post-Prime Minister career

Nordli in April 2007, about 79
Nordli in April 2007, about 79

After retiring as prime minister in 1981, he was elected vice president of the Storting. He served as vice president until 1985.[2]

His career ended with the post of County Governor of Hedmark, which he held from 1981 until his retirement in 1993.[4] He was also a member of the Norwegian Nobel Committee from 1985 to 1993.[10]

After retiring, Nordli had a number of books published which included autobiographical writings and lighter stories about politics, daily life and nature.[4]

Personal life

Nordli met his wife Marit Haraseth (born 28 April 1931) in Hedmark Labour Youth.[11] They married in 1953, had two daughters and lived in Stange.[12]

Nordli died on 9 January 2018 of prostate cancer in Oslo at the age of 90.[10][3][13] His state funeral was held on 19 January 2018.[14][15][16]


Selected works


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Odvar Nordli, A Cold War Leader of Norway, Dies at 90". The New York Times. 10 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Nordli, Odvar (1927-2018)". Stortinget.no. 10 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Former Norwegian Leader Odvar Nordli Dies at 90". Independent. 10 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Odvar Nordli: En sentral politiker er gått bort". NTB. 9 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Norwegian Prime Minister of the 1970s and 1980s Dies". Minneapolis Star Tribune. 10 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  6. ^ a b Sturla Gjesdal (17 March 2005). "Sykefraværets utvikling i Norge 1975 – 2002". Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  7. ^ a b "About the Abortion Act". Regjeringen.no. 10 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Arald Kjølås. "Odvar Nordli Excerpt from Norske statsministra". Det Norske Samlaget 1999 Allkunne.no. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  9. ^ Norway and Russia Agree on Maritime Boundary in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean American Society of Internatial Law. Retrieved 10 Jan 2018
  10. ^ a b Løvstad Thjømøe, Silje (9 January 2018). "Tidligere statsminister Odvar Nordli er død (Former Prime Minister Odvar Nordli is dead)". itromso.no. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  11. ^ Marit Haraseth. 1994. ISBN 9788257304867. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  12. ^ Odvar Nordli: Min vei. Tiden, 1985
  13. ^ "Odvar Nordli, a Cold War Leader of Norway, Dies at 90". The New York Times. 10 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  14. ^ "- Han snakket ikke unødvendig mye, men snakket når det var nødvendig". dagbladet.no. 19 January 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  15. ^ NRK (19 January 2018). "Odvar Nordlis gravferd". nrk.no. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Bisettelsen til Odvar Nordli: "Klokskapen din blir aldri borte"". aftenposten.no. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  17. ^ a b c "Tidligere statsminister Odvar Nordli er død". ABCnyheter. 9 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  18. ^ "Morgenlandet". Bokelskere.no. 10 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
Political offices Preceded byHelge Rognlien Norwegian Minister of Local Government 1971–1972 Succeeded byJohan Skipnes Preceded byTrygve Bratteli Prime Minister of Norway 1976–1981 Succeeded byGro Harlem Brundtland Preceded byAnfinn Lund County Governor of Hedmark 1981–1993 Succeeded byKjell Borgen