The Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo in December will be scaled back this year because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the head of the Nobel Institute said Tuesday.
The prize, which will be announced for 2020 as scheduled on October 9, is traditionally presented to the laureate on December 10, the anniversary of the 1896 death of prize founder Alfred Nobel.
Unlike previous years, this year’s ceremony will not be held in the main room of Oslo’s City Hall, which can accomodate 1,000 guests, but in the auditorium of Oslo University, which can host around 100 people.
The banquet usually held in honour of the laureate the same evening has meanwhile been cancelled outright.
In July, the Nobel Foundation announced the cancellation — for the first time since 1956 — of the Nobel banquet in Stockholm for the prizewinners in the fields of medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and economics.
“We want to be in line with Stockholm and underline that this is an exceptional year: it’s, therefore, good to move the award ceremony to another location,” the head of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, Olav Njolstad, told public broadcaster NRK.
“Secondly, we would not have been able to have more than 200 people in City Hall in a room that can accommodate 1,000, and it would have felt quite sparse,” he said.
It is also not certain whether this year’s laureate or laureates will be able to travel to Oslo to accept the prestigious prize in person, and the Nobel Institute is therefore also considering holding an online ceremony, with an in-person invitation postponed until next year, Njolstad told NRK.
The Nobel consists of a gold medal, a diploma, and the prize sum of 9.0 million Swedish kronor ($1.01 million, 865,000 euros).