A year before his death, Alfred Nobel had written his third and last testament on a piece of paper. Three days after Nobel's cremation near Stockholm, Swedish newspaper Nya Dagligt Allehanda announced the existence of the testament.
33 million crowns
The surprising will soon was on everybody's lips. Family, friends and co-workers did get a lot less than they had expected. The justice court of Karlskoga-Bofors estimated Nobel's total estate on 33.233.793 Swedish crowns. Nobel left behind 100.000 crowns to most of his family members. The rest had to be invested in the now well-known prize fund.
Politicians blame Nobel
The reactions on the will were huge, especially in political circles. Politicians blamed Nobel for betraying the country, because his Swedish property would now be divided internationally. Especially the suggestion that Norway (looking for full independence from Sweden) would appoint the Peace Prize committee, was not received willingly. Furthermore Swedish institutes would take care of the other prizes, thus leaving out the Swedish parliament completely.
Noble Nobel money
The Norwegian parliament added more fuel to the flames by electing writer/politician Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson in the Nobel committee. Bjørnson fought for a complete Norwegian independence - international peace movements were enthusiastic: "We wouldn't have thought this was possible. Money that was born from dynamite is ennobled now".
The political pressure, the overwhelming extra work for the institutes and the law suits by family members made that it took quite a while before the Fund was finally raised. The fact that Nobel had used words and sentences that could be interpreted in multiple ways, led to extensive investigation which also resulted in further delay. At last in 1901 the Nobel Will's executors Ragnar Sohlmann and Rudolf Liljeqvist could present the first winners. Norwegian nationalist Bjørnson was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1903.
Information from SPA Gipman, Honderd jaar Nobelprijs voor literatuur in namen, feiten en cijfers