Robert Themptander

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Robert Themptander
Oscar Robert Themptander (from Hildebrand, Sveriges historia).jpg
4th Prime Minister of Sweden
In office
16 May 1884 – 6 February 1888
(3 years, 266 days)
Monarch Oscar II
Preceded by Carl Johan Thyselius
Succeeded by Gillis Bildt
Personal details
Born (1844-02-14)14 February 1844
Stockholm, Sweden
Died 30 January 1897(1897-01-30) (aged 52)
Stockholm, Sweden
Political party Independent liberal
Spouse(s) Frida Dahlberg
Alma mater Uppsala University

Oscar Robert Themptander (14 February 1844–30 January 1897) was a Swedish politician and public official who was Prime Minister of Sweden from 1884 to 1888 during the reign of King Oscar II, and Governor of Stockholm County from 1888 to 1896. He was also Minister for Finance.

At the age of 40 years and 92 days, Themptander is the youngest person to become Prime Minister in Swedish history. His death at the age of 52 years and 351 days makes him also the youngest prime minister at his death.


Robert Themptander was born in Stockholm, the son of lieutenant Nils Themptander and Adolphina Laurent. After law studies in Uppsala and a highly successful career in the civil service he became in 1879 a member of the Second Chamber where from the start he was near the center of the loyal government, but afterward he approached the agrarian party. He Married in 1874 with Frida Dahlberg, with whom he had three children. In the government of Arvid Posse in 1880, he became Minister without Portfolio and, in 1881 Minister of Finance, which he was for three years before he became Prime Minister at the age of 40. Only Louis De Geer had become Prime Minister at a younger age.[verification needed]

Through good contacts in different parliamentary positions he was successful in breaking the deadlock which the defense question got into and put in place the defense decisions of 1885. He was less successful in his striving to protect the free trade system which Louis De Geer and Minister of Finance Gripenstedt imported and which accelerated the modernising of Sweden. As food prices on the world markets sank because of increased imports from all of North America, demand increased for high tariffs to protect Swedish interests.

Eventually Themptander was constrained to retire, yet not through defeat in the 1887 election, when his resistance towards the new duty-friendly winds of opinion meant more election debate than before. Candidates for the Riksdag were compelled to answer about which views they had, if they were friends of free trade or friends of tariffs. This was seen by many as common. Lifelong members of the Riksdag had previously been elected on the basis of their high personal reputation and confidence. The free market supporters won in Stockholm and took home twenty-two parliamentary seats. But it appeared that one member had not paid his taxes and therefore the whole list was declared invalid. Lifelong members of the Riksdag who were friendly to free trade were replaced with those in favor of tariffs and the Second Chamber thereby received a protectionist majority.

Themptander attempted to have King Oscar II announce a new election, but the King denied the request. Then Themptander retired. From 1888-1896 he was Governor in the Stockholm County and afterwards director for Trafik AB Grängesberg–Oxelösund.

Robert Themptander died on 30 January 1897 in Stockholm.

Political offices
Preceded by
Carl Johan Thyselius
Prime Minister of Sweden
16 May 1884–6 February 1888
Succeeded by
Gillis Bildt


This article draws heavily on the corresponding article in the Swedish-language Wikipedia, which was accessed in the version of November 11, 2005.

  • T. Nevéus, Ett betryggande försvar [A Reassuring Defense] (1965)