Cultures of Creativity


“What is creativity and how can creative activity best be encouraged?” “Which is more important to the creative process: the individual or the environment?”. The Centennial Exhibition examines these questions by presenting selected Laureates and milieus from the 100-year history of the Nobel Prize. The Exhibition does not provide specific answers, but gives visitors the chance to think about these questions for themselves.

Nobel plaza
The Nobel Museum as seen from the entrance
Photo: Karin Jonsson ©Nobelmuseet 2012

Individuals and Milieus

Courage to think on entirely new lines, daring to question established theories, innovative combinations of insights from the different fields – these are some of the characteristics of creativity.

These characteristics may be illustrated by physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen's research, the work of Peace Prize Laureate Martin Luther King, and the literary works of Selma Lagerlöf – all presented at the Exhibition.

In creative environments there are often informal meeting places for spontaneous, unplanned discussions. These were the Paris cafés of the 1920s, where Nobel Laureates such as Hemingway and Beckett worked, and today the cafeterias in CERN or in Cambridge, with all its colleges.

There are presentations of more than thirty Laureates and their creative work, as well as a number of milieus that inspired creativity, in the film room and artifact theater. The Exhibition also gives an account of the Nobel Prizes of the 20th Century. Well-known Nobel Prizes are discussed against a background of historic events. Nobel Prizes that were controversial at the time are also discussed, such as the Peace Prize awarded to German journalist Carl von Ossietzky in 1935.

How is a Nobel Laureate chosen?

The Nobel Prize Ceremony in the Concert Hall and the banquet at the City Hall (with the famous Nobel ice cream on the menu) are only the tip of the iceberg of the Nobel system. The Centennial Exhibition describes this unique system, which handles nominations from all over the world and a great number of expert opinions – work that has been carried out continuously by the various Nobel committees during the past 100 years.

Alfred Nobel

Alfred Nobel's unique will is behind the entire Nobel system. Who was he and why did he want to donate his entire fortune to an international award? The Exhibition presents Alfred Nobel the idealist, inventor, entrepreneur, and cosmopolitan, along with the international perspective that distinguished his life and will.

Alfred Nobel
Alfred Nobel's room at the Nobel Museum.
Photo: Karin Jonsson ©Nobelmuseet 2012


The Nobel Museum hosts both permanent and temporary exhibitions, on the Nobel Prize, the Nobel Laureates, Alfred Nobel and related topics.

Exhibition Catalogue

Originally published in conjunction with the Centennial Exhibition of the Nobel Prize in 2001, this newly revised and enlarged English edition seeks to explore various threads of the web of creativity through an examination of the achievements of Nobel Laureated from diverse fields and the milieux from which they drew inspiration.

From the blog


Nobel Creations Inspires Creativity and Ingenuity in the U.S.

Nobel Creations: Inspired by the Nobel Prize has made its U.S. debut at the American Swedish Institute (ASI) in Minneapolis, MN, USA to much acclaim. It can be seen until May 26th.

Publicerad 28 Apr. Comments

Book bindings in new exhibition

The Nobel Museum have since 2006 produced exhibitions where book binders are invited to interpret Nobel Laureates in Literature. In this year's exihibiton, Alice Munro and Mo Yan are interpreted by Swedish, Canadian and Chinese book binders. 

The exhibition is on show until September 27.  

Publicerad 16 Apr. Comments

New exhibitions over the world

The Nobel Museum are opening new exhibitons all over the world. We can be seen from the Americas to Asia. 

Publicerad 4 Mar. Comments


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Executive Editor: Olov Amelin

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