A bust of Alfred Nobel, surrounded by a beautiful wall of flowers donated by the Chamber of Commerce of Imperia, Sanremo and the Town of Sanremo: carnations in various pink and wine red nuances, light pink chrysanthemums, pink amaryllis and roses in various pink hues.

© Nobel Media AB 2016. Photo: Pi Frisk

Alfred Nobel’s life

Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) was born in Stockholm, Sweden, on 21 October 1833. His family was descended from Olof Rudbeck, the best-known technical genius in Sweden in the 17th century, an era in which Sweden was a great power in northern Europe. Nobel was fluent in several languages, and wrote poetry and drama. Nobel was also very interested in social and peace-related issues, and held views that were considered radical during his time. Alfred Nobel’s interests are reflected in the prize he established. Learn more about his life and his interests – science, inventions, entrepreneurship, literature and peace work.

Alfred Nobel’s life and work



By Birgitta Lemmel


By Nils Ringertz


By Åke Erlandsson


The private library of Alfred Nobel


By Åke Erlandsson


By Tore Frängsmyr


By Sven Tägil



Alfred Nobel’s final years in San Remo

Alfred Nobel died in his villa overlooking the Mediterranean in Sanremo, Italy

By Lorenette Gozzo

Alfred Nobel’s industrial activities


By Birgitta Lemmel



By Birgitta Lemmel


List of Alfred Nobel’s patents

Alfred Nobel’s home in Björkborn

Towards the end of his life, Alfred Nobel acquired the company “AB Bofors” in Karlskoga, Sweden. At Björkborn, a property on the Bofors estate, Björkborn Manor became his last home in Sweden.

Björkborn Manor is now a museum where visitors can go back in time and imagine what it was like when Alfred Nobel spent his summers here. Apart from the manor, another point of interest is the laboratory where Nobel continued with his experiments before his death in 1896.

Bjorkborn manor

Read more about Björkborn Manor at the web site of the Nobel Museum in Karlskoga, Sweden

Aphorisms by Alfred Nobel

Literature occupied a central role in the life of Alfred Nobel. He regarded various literary forms of expression as opportunities to achieve a greater understanding of our own thoughts, lives and relationships with other people and our surroundings. Alfred Nobel had an extensive library, which included important European literary works. Inspired by Shelley and Byron, he wrote poems in English as a young man. Toward the end of his life, he wrote the tragedy Nemesis. His best literary form of expression was probably the aphorism, where he often expressed himself drastically.

“A heart can no more be forced to love than a stomach can be forced to digest food by persuasion.”

“Second to agriculture, humbug is the biggest industry of our age.”

“Contentment is the only real wealth.”

“We build upon the sand, and the older we become, the more unstable this foundation becomes.”

“The truthful man is usually a liar.”

“Justice is to be found only in the imagination.”

“It is not sufficient to be worthy of respect in order to be respected.”

“Worry is the stomach’s worst poison.”

“The best excuse for the fallen ones is that Madame Justice herself is one of them.”

“Self-respect without the respect of others is like a jewel which will not stand the daylight.”

“Hope is nature’s veil for hiding truth’s nakedness.”

“Lying is the greatest of all sins.”

“Home is where I work and I work everywhere.”

To cite this section
MLA style: Alfred Nobel’s life. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2024. Wed. 27 Mar 2024. <https://www.nobelprize.org/alfred-nobel/biographical-information/>

Nobel Prizes and laureates

Eleven laureates were awarded a Nobel Prize in 2023, for achievements that have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind. Their work and discoveries range from effective mRNA vaccines and attosecond physics to fighting against the oppression of women.

See them all presented here.