Johan Sverdrup

Johan Sverdrup ( born July 30, 1816 in Sem with Tonsberg, † February 17, 1892 in Kristiania ) was a Norwegian jurist and Venstre politician. He was Prime Minister of Norway from 1884 to 1889. It shall often considered the father of parliamentarism in Norway.


Sverdrup was a son of the estate manager, Jacob Liv Borch Sverdrup (1775-1841) and a nephew of the professor and politician Georg Sverdrup. He studied law at the University of Oslo and in 1844 a lawyer in Larvik. Here he was first involved in local politics and was elected to the Storting in 1850, where he served until 1885. Already in the 1850s he was together with Ole Gabriel Ueland the leader of the opposition, which urged a parliamentary system. 1859 both established the Reformforening as the union of the reformist deputies in the Storting. In the 1860s, the opposition won by Sverdrup and the peasant leader Søren Jaabæk the majority and interspersed that the Storting a year (instead of every three years ) met.

However, this strengthening of democracy led to further conflict with the Swedish king. Sverdrup was now as President of the Odelstings ( 1862-1869 ) and the Storting ( 1871-1880 ) and as editor in chief of Verdens Gang ( 1876-1878 ) the undisputed leader of the opposition. In 1882 Stortingswahl his supporters won a convincing victory, and so he formed until 1884, the first political party Venstre than Norway. After several governments had failed in the majority in the Storting, Sverdrup was appointed on June 26, 1884 Prime Minister. Because he refused to admit representatives of the younger radical direction in the government, but the Venstre split as a result of the decline in Stortingswahlen next year. Sverdrup led the Moderate Venstre and leaning in Parliament on the programmatic renewed Høyre, but ruled unlucky and had to explain his resignation in July 1889. It was in 1891 again elected to the Storting, but was too sick to even attend the meetings.


Sverdrup received in 1885 the Grand Cross of St. Olav Order. According to him, a new oil field is named in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea.