His parents were the priest Peder Schjelderup Nissen (1775-1826) and his wife Margrethe BOLETTE Musæus ( 1774-1859 ). On 12 June 1843 he married in Christiania Karen Magdalena Aas ( 26 October 1820-24. January 1900 ), daughter of Sorenskrivers and Council Chambers John Henriksen Aas ( 1770-1822 ) and his wife Kristine Colban ( 1791-1863 ).
1835 Nissen began Philology studies at the University of Christiania. Three semester he held in Copenhagen on the study of Sanskrit. In his studies, he was an active member of " The filologisk Forening ", which had been founded by the rector of the Katedralschule Frederik Moltke Bugge in Trondheim. In the spring of 1843, he passed his exams.
In the same year he sent an invitation to a training institute, based on newer and more recognized principles to participate. He had brought from Denmark These principles. There was a greater consideration of the science subjects at school. They were translated into Latin Nissen and junior high school in Christiania, which began in 1843 with 33 pupils and which he founded with the Ole Jacob Broch school reformer. Nissen's goal was equality of science with the traditional subjects and the immediate admission of pupils of the elementary school in the gymnasium. In his understanding of the science subjects and the inclusion of a living language was the first foreign language in the curriculum. His publications and his first private school model also means that in 1845 the new law for schools has been suspended indefinitely led.
Nissen's next school project, Nissen Girls' School, was founded in 1849 in Christiania. In a series of articles in Christiania -Posten he insisted that girls should receive the same education as boys. This was a radical view in the 1840s, but paved the way for female teachers in the 1860s. After 1861, many teachers were trained.
1850 Nissen initiated the establishment of " Selskabet til Folkeoplysningens Fremme " ( Society for the Promotion of Popular Education ) and was its chairman until 1855. You should promote civic education and counteract the development uncontrollable mass movements such as the temperance. Another great school reformer, Ole Vig, edited the journal of the Society, the friend of the people. The cooperation between these two can be regarded as a line of a coherent education policy of Bugges idea of a unit school to school policy of Venstre in the 1880s and 1890s.
1850 to 1854 he interrupted his practical work at his school and was expert in school issues in church department. At the same time he was a teacher in pedagogy in the theological- practical seminar of the University. In 1853 he traveled to Scotland to study the local school regulations. After his return, he wrote a description of the Scottish folk school of nearly 500 pages. Along with scholarships Bugges report of nearly 1,000 pages from 1838, this is a key document of the Norwegian school history.
End of 1854, he resumed his activities as Rector of the two schools that bore his name back on, but dedicated to continue in school policy issues, in particular for the new land law for primary schools, which was in preparation. In 1856 he presented as a private citizen and school principal before its own bill for elementary schools. The draft was sent out for consultation to the various school boards, and a royal commission was set up to examine the proposal. But this did not agree with the most points Nissen. However, the State Department in the church Hans Riddervold informed now Nissen's views, and the draft was submitted to the Storting which, after consulting passed a law that followed Nissens basic principles. From 1860 the country schools to Christian- bourgeois schools were similar to urban schools: In addition to basic Christian teaching, they should now educate the youth conscious citizens of the society.
In 1857 he was the first who stood up for the annual meeting of the Storting, which has since met only every three years.
1865 Nissen " Ekspedisjons boss " for school affairs in the department of church. In the same year he sold his two schools. State Riddervold wanted to make him a top professional head of school affairs in Norway. At the same time he was chairman of the Commission for the reform of schools. Shortly before the appointment Nissen had a series of articles "Om Ordningen av VORT høiere Skolevæsen " (On the order of our high schools ) published that caused a heated argument in the press. His view of the future schools was divided mainly on the school board. 1869 the Storting adopted the law for the higher schools. It is the last member of the great education reform, stood behind the nits. Here a three-year community school for all children was introduced, and the new name of the school shows the downfall of the old Latin school. The encyclopedic training principle had triumphed. No subject was superior to the other, as had been considered earlier for religion and Latin.
The Act of 1869 also led to a new teacher training, which was drafted in 1871. It was introduced a linguistic- historical and a mathematical- natural science teacher exam. Nissen also wanted to introduce a one-year teacher training with exams to qualify the graduates better for teaching in schools, but this proposal was not adopted by the Storting. It was not until 1905, a six-month practical- educational seminar was introduced temporarily, which was expanded in 1992 to a year-long seminar as originally proposed Nissen.
1873 took over the Nissen Kristiania Cathedral School as rector, but died after one-half year in office. His Latin and junior high school was closed in the same year, his girl's school was taken over in 1919 by the city and still exists today, since 1955 under the name Hartvig Nissen school and as a coeducational school.
He was a member of " Det Norske Kongelige Videnskabers Selskab " since 1852 and in 1864 Knight of St. Olav Order.