Carl I. Hagen

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This article is about the Norwegian politician. For the article about the particle physicist, see C. R. Hagen.
Carl I. Hagen
CI Hagen2326alt 2E jpg DF0000062793.jpg
Leader of the Progress Party
In office
11 February 1978 – 5 October 2006
Preceded by Arve Lønnum
Succeeded by Siv Jensen
Vice President of the Norwegian Parliament
In office
12 September 2005 – 14 September 2009
Preceded by Inge Lønning
Succeeded by Øyvind Korsberg
Member of Parliament
for Oslo
In office
October 1974 – 12 September 1977
In office
14 September 1981 – 14 September 2009
Personal details
Born (1944-05-06) 6 May 1944 (age 72)
Oslo, Norway
Nationality Norwegian
Political party Progress Party
Spouse(s) Nina Aamodt (1970–1975)
Eli Hagen (1983–)
Children Two
Residence Oslo, Norway
Alma mater Sunderland Technical College
Occupation Politician
Profession Former businessman
Religion Christianity[1]

Carl Ivar Hagen (born 6 May 1944) is a Norwegian politician and former Vice President of the Norwegian Parliament. He was the chairman of the Progress Party from 1978 until 2006, when Siv Jensen replaced him as chairman of the party. Under his leadership he was the undisputed leader and centre of the party, and in many ways personally controlled its ideology and policies.

Hagen has since been regarded by both political scientists and political colleagues alike as one of the greatest politicians in Norwegian history, for his ability to build a hugely successful party up from scratch and significantly change Norwegian politics.[2][3] He has sometimes popularly been nicknamed "King Carl," the title of his unauthorized biography.[4][5][6] He has been described as the first post-modern politician in Norway.[7]

Early life[edit]

Hagen was born to CEO Ragnar Hagen (1908–1969) and accountant Gerd Gamborg (born 1914).[8] He was named after his paternal grandfather, Carl, and his maternal grandfather, Ivar.[9] He has two siblings, one younger, and one older sister.[10] Hagen was before the Progress Party a passive member of the Young Conservatives, and according to him, both his parents voted for the Labour Party.[7] According to Hagen himself and his secondary school classmates, Hagen was a relatively shy boy in his younger years. When he was seventeen years old, in 1961, he went as an apprentice at the Norwegian America Line ship MS Foldenfjord.[9] He achieved Examen artium in 1963. In 1964, he was conscripted in the Norwegian Army, and served as an engineer soldier at Eggemoen near Hønefoss, and Maukstadmoen in Troms.[9]

After this, he left Norway for England. Originally wanting to become an engineer, he flunked mathematics in Sunderland and chose to study marketing and business studies in Newcastle instead, earning a Higher National Diploma in Business Studies in 1968.[8][9] From being more reserved in his youngest days, he soon became a player in Northern English student politics. In 1967 he fought over the office of vice president of the National Union of Students against Jack Straw (later Labour Party MP and Secretary of State for Justice of the UK).[3]

Prior to dedicating his professional life to politics, Hagen was CEO at Tate & Lyle Norway from 1970 to 1974, Consultant of Finansanalyse from 1977 to 1979, and economic policy consultant in the oil industry from 1979 to 1981.[8]


Hagen has explained that he lost faith in the Conservative Party as an alternative to social democracy during the centre-right Cabinet of Borten (1965–71) when taxes increased more so than under Labour, as well as the power of the state. He sought to reduce the power of the state over individuals, and the political views of Anders Lange were because of this appealing to him.[7]

Hagen started his political career as he was elected Deputy Member of Parliament from Oslo for Anders Lange's Party in 1973. He had attended the founding meeting of the party at Saga kino in April, and was asked by Erik Gjems-Onstad if he wanted to stand for election for the party.[9] He however soon lost faith in Anders Lange, and along with some others in 1974 broke away and formed the short-lived Reform Party.[7][11] After the death of Anders Lange later the same year he replaced Lange as a regular MP. The newly formed Reform Party merged with Anders Lange's Party again already the next year.[7] In 1977 the party changed its name into the Progress Party, and Hagen was elected leader of the party at the 1978 national convention. As the party did not get any MP's into parliament in 1977, Hagen was away from parliament for four years, until being elected in again in 1981.

Carl I. Hagen speaking in Parliament in February 2009.

Hagen has been regarded as the first postmodern politician in Norway by Gudleiv Forr, writing for the Norsk biografisk leksikon.[7] His early success has been attributed to his ability to use the media through populist speech.[7] He also managed to moderate the profile of the party from the more vulgar tone of Anders Lange.[7] Though he identifies himself as a libertarian, his political practice has been regarded by political commentators of being populist.[7] His ability to balance different political directions, was regarded by Forr of displaying "his mastering of the role of being party leader."[7] Forr also claimed that Hagen has a talent of double communication, which has left the diverse voter group of the party with different impressions of the policies of the party, sometimes leading to internal schisms.[7] His success has also been attributed to his leadership tactics, which included suspending and removing members of the party who deviated too much from his views.[6]

Hagen was elected into parliament for seven consecutive four-year periods from 1981, until he stepped down and decided not to run for the 2009 election.[12] In the periods from 1979 to 1982, 1987 to 1991 and 1995 to 1999 he was also a member of the Oslo city council.[13] From 2005 to 2009, Hagen in addition held the office of Vice President of Parliament. Part of the decision not to run for re-election (which he made in 2007) apart from reaching the age of pension, was because Hagen had felt that he had been put on the sideline after he had retired from the office of chairman. Hagen also stated that he wanted more relaxation, and sought to perhaps receive some missions as a consultant.[13] After ending his high-profile political career, he started working for the PR agency Burson-Marsteller in 2009, where he became among the company's highest paid lecturers.[14]

Carl I. Hagen speaking at a rally in Oslo as the Progress Party "senior general" before the 2009 parliamentary election.

In March 2010 it was however speculated about his comeback into Norwegian politics, as "central Progress Party politicians" wanted him to stand for mayor in Oslo. Hagen himself did not entirely repudiate the thought, and stated that he missed politics, as well as himself, as he thought that politics had become boring without him.[15][16] In September 2010, Hagen announced his candidacy for the office of mayor of Oslo for the 2011 local elections,[17] and quit his engagement with Burson-Marsteller.[18] After receiving bleak polling figures, Hagen chose to effectively drop out of the race three days before the election.[19]

In an internal party meeting on 9 November 2011, Hagen unsuccessfully sought to be chosen as the Progress Party's representative in the Norwegian Nobel Committee, and in turn withdrew from the party's central board as well as from his position as "senior general". Following the meeting, he published a five-page note, criticising Siv Jensen, and citing his resignation with the "treatment and humilitation" he received from the "party leadership".[20][21] In April 2013, Carl I Hagen and Siv Jensen declared that the conflict between them had been resolved.[22]

Political views, criticism and controversies[edit]


The claim that the Progress party is populist dates back to a motion of no confidence in 1986 for the Conservative Party prime minister Kåre Willoch. During the parliamentary election campaign in 1985, the Progress Party had promised not to contribute to a socialist government.[12] When the motion failed to pass – in part due to lack of support from the Progress Party – Kåre Willoch explained it as "the unpredictability of Carl I. Hagen".

Immigration and Islam[edit]

Several times in Hagen's political career, he has been accused of playing on domestic fears of foreigners and immigrants. Largely because of his, for some, controversial views on immigration, the political opponents of the Progress Party has many times resorted to physical assaults on Hagen.[23] He is especially known for having presented several accusations against Muslims, and Islam as a religion.[24][25] In 2009 however, he received a "bridge builder" award from the Norwegian-Pakistani committee for the celebration of the Pakistani Independence Day in Norway, for his "strong engagement in integration politics."[26]

Levende Ord speech[edit]

In July 2004, Hagen delivered a speech at a convention of the independent Christian organisation Levende Ord, where he stated that "we Christians are very much concerned with children. Jesus said, let the small children come to me. I can't understand that Muhammad could have said the same. In the case that he could have said the same, it would have been: Let the small children come to me, so that I can exploit them in my struggle to Islamify the world." He also stated that if Israel lost the fight in the Middle East, Europe would bow under to Islam, if Muslim fundamentalists get it as they want. "They have, in the same manner as Hitler, long ago made it clear that the long-term plan is to Islamify the world. They have come a long way, they have pierced deep into Africa, and have come a long way into Europe – and then we have to fight back." He was because of this speech criticised by politicians, religious leaders and other public personalities within Norway.[1] Some days later, the ambassadors of Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt and Morocco, and chargé d'affaires of Tunisia made an unusually strong attack on Hagen in a letter in the newspaper Aftenposten.[27]


Hagen has been critical of the media. He gave the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, abbreviated NRK, the nickname "ARK", a pun meant to be understood as the "Labour Party Broadcasting Corporation," stating the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, and other media, to be largely unfavorable of the Progress Party.[28] In the 2009 parliamentary election he stated that this election had seen the worst case of media bias against the Progress Party. He claimed that the Norwegian media had been able to control the election campaign more than before, regarding who they interrupt during debates, which issues they choose to ask the different parties about, and who they invite to join debates.[29]


Ærlig talt: Memoarer 1944–2007 (2007)[edit]

Ærlig talt was mainly written as Hagen's personal memoirs, and particularly described his political career. According to Cappelen Damm, Hagen writes "openly about his strategic choices, about central political processes, conflicts and victories – and about how they formed him and the party." He was also described as an "experienced and outspoken politician" who in his book was "hard-hitting, straight to the chase – and with continued willingness and ability to provoke."[30] The book also contains, among other things, Hagen's personal characterisations of several political opponents.[31]

Hagen started the presentation of his book by talking about circumstances in the 2001 Terje Søviknes sex-scandal. In the book, he also compared what he saw as a similar naïvety in the modern Norwegian immigration policy, and Neville Chamberlain's failed negotiations with Adolf Hitler in the prelude to the Second World War.[32] When discussing the aftermath of the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy, he wrote that the management by the Norwegian government led freedom of speech to be "subordinated to the respect for the warlord, man of violence and female abuser Muhammad, who murdered and accepted rape as a conquest technique."[25] This was criticized by the Islamic Council Norway for "insulting Muslims," a reaction Hagen considered to be "as expected."[25] He also described how he believed the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation to be a tool for socialists.[33]

Klar tale (2010)[edit]

Klar tale is a debate book, where Hagen wrote his personal opinions. In the book, Hagen claimed that the policies used by the socialist parties were destroying the welfare state, by using poor solutions. He devoted much space to criticize The budgetary rule (handlingsregelen), which he claimed was preventing the development in Norway. He also criticized Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg's "bragging" of Norway having the lowest unemployment figures in Europe after the financial crisis, which Hagen saw as obvious, given Norway's oil wealth.[34]

Hagen also discussed possible difficulties in potential government cooperation between the Progress and Conservative Party. He cited conflicts among "strong individuals" in both parties. Politically, he warned the Progress Party particularly against "giving in" regarding the immigration policy, which he said was one of the most important issues for the party, and that the party in such a scenario would fall rapidly in polls, and lose credibility.[35] He also believed that "if nothing is done," Norway risk the emergence of "a Rosengård,"[36] and proposed for volunteers to take care of asylum seekers instead of the state, which he in turn believed would "likely rapidly stop the flow of asylum seekers to Norway."[37]

He also rejected the notion of man-made climate change, which he called the "climate hoax," citing the 3–4 percentage of human produced CO2 to hardly be significant to general climate changes. He also proposed for the Progress, Labour and Conservative Party to agree on increasing the electoral threshold to five percent, so that three to five of the smaller parties could possibly disappear.[38]

Personal life[edit]

Hagen married Nina Aamodt (born 17 January 1945) in 1970. They had two children and were divorced in 1975, according to Hagen as a consequence of his political work. After some years of cohabitation, in 1983 he was married again, to Eli Aas, herself also a divorcee and mother of two. She became Hagen's closest political co-worker and advisor through his political career.[7][39] As of August 2009, Hagen has seven grandchildren.

Major Carl-Axel Hagen (instructor at the War College in Oslo) is a son of his.[40]

After living in Nøtterøy for years, Hagen and his wife moved back to Oslo in 2006. They also own a cabin in Sande, Vestfold.[citation needed]

His favorite musician is Elvis Presley, and he enjoys playing golf and tennis.[3]


  1. ^ a b Alstadsæter, Rune; Bakken, Laila Ø.; Johansen, Benny André (13 July 2004). "Hagen angrep islam". Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (in Norwegian). Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  2. ^ Buan, Vibeke; Røli, Olav (2 May 2008). "- En av de største i norsk politikk". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c Melbye, Olav (30 August 2009). "Superreserven Carl I. Hagen". Drammens Tidende (in Norwegian). Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  4. ^ "Kong Carl og hans historie: Jan Ove Ekeberg og Jan Arild Snoen: "Kong Carl"". Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). 19 November 2001. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  5. ^ Arnøy, Siri Hall (18 November 2002). "Kong Carls utfordring". Klassekampen (in Norwegian). Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Garvik, Olav (4 May 2006). "Kong Carl abdiserer". Bergens Tidende (in Norwegian). Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Forr, Gudleiv. "Carl I Hagen". Norsk biografisk leksikon (in Norwegian). Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  8. ^ a b c "Hagen, Carl I. ( 1944– )". (in Norwegian). Retrieved 4 August 2010. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Ertzeid, Heidi; Olsen, Kjetil; Nordstoga, Anders; Buan, Vibeke (30 April 2008). "Carl I. Hagen tar ikke gjenvalg". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  10. ^ Gjerstad, Tore (5 May 2006). "33 år med Carl I.". Dagbladet (in Norwegian). Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  11. ^ Løset, Kjetil (15 June 2009). "FrPs historie". TV 2 (in Norwegian). Retrieved 11 November 2009. 
  12. ^ a b Aune, Oddvin (19 June 2009). "Da Hagen spente beinkrok på Willoch". Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (in Norwegian). Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  13. ^ a b Gunnersen, Anja Tho (30 April 2008). "Carl I. Hagen trekker seg". TV 2 (in Norwegian). Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  14. ^ Hvidsten, Ingrid (17 September 2009). "- Carl I. Hagen blir ikke billig". Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  15. ^ "Vil ha Carl I. Hagen som Oslo-ordfører". Nettavisen (in Norwegian). 20 March 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  16. ^ Pedersen, Pia Beathe (20 March 2010). "Åpner for å bli ordfører i Oslo". Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (in Norwegian). Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  17. ^ Hansen, Anette Holth (6 September 2010). "Hagen vil bli ordfører". Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (in Norwegian). Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  18. ^ Helskog, Gerhard (6 September 2010). "Carl I Hagen avslutter engasjementet i Burson-Marsteller". IndustriInformasjon (in Norwegian) (Oslo). Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  19. ^ Gjerde, Robert (9 September 2011). "Hagen avblåser ordførerduellen". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  20. ^ "Carl I. Hagen vred etter vraking" (in Norwegian). Norwegian News Agency. 16 November 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  21. ^ Nervik, Stein; Glomnes, Lars Molteberg (16 November 2011). "Carl I. Hagen: – Jeg er ydmyket". Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  22. ^ Helge Rønning Birkelund: Nå har de skværet opp Avisenes Nyhetsbyrå,/, 6 April 2013, (Norwegian)
  23. ^ "Egg mot SV-Kristin og FrP-Carl (2:00 min)". Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2 April 2010. 
  24. ^ Tisdall, Jonathan (16 August 2005). "Progress Party brochure sparks racism charges". Aftenposten. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  25. ^ a b c "Mener Hagen-bok krenker muslimer". HegnarOnline (NTB) (in Norwegian). 9 November 2007. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  26. ^ Mæland, Kjetil (14 August 2009). "Hagen fikk pakistansk pris". Nettavisen (in Norwegian). Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  27. ^ Kaarbø, Agnar (24 July 2004). "Ambassadører angriper Hagen". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  28. ^ "Carl I. Hagen blir PR-rådgiver". TV 2 (in Norwegian). 17 September 2009. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  29. ^ Gunnersen, Anja Tho (15 September 2009). "Bitter Carl I. Hagen skylder på media". TV 2 (in Norwegian). Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  30. ^ "Ærlig talt". Cappelen Damm. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  31. ^ "Carl I Hagen". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). 17 September 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  32. ^ Klungtveit, Harald S. (31 October 2007). "Er jeg egentlig en drittsekk og rasist?". Dagbladet (in Norwegian). Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  33. ^ Thorkildsen, Joakim (1 November 2007). "- Hagen er uønsket i NRK". Dagbladet (in Norwegian). Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  34. ^ Lande, David (25 October 2010). "Klar tale fra Carl". (in Norwegian). Retrieved 25 December 2010. 
  35. ^ Skevik, Erlend (25 October 2010). "Hagen svartelister Høyre-topper". Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  36. ^ Helljesen, Vilje (25 October 2010). "– Norge vil få sitt Rosengård". Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (in Norwegian). Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  37. ^ Magnus, Gunnar; Akerhaug, Lars (25 October 2010). "Hagen vil la frivillige ta asyl-regningen". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  38. ^ Eriksen, Stine (12 October 2010). "Carl I. Hagen: – Klimaendringene er ikke menneskeskapte". TV 2 (in Norwegian). Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  39. ^ Gjerstad, Tore (8 February 2003). "I takt for partiet". Dagbladet (in Norwegian). Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  40. ^


  • Ærlighet varer lengst (autobiography). Oslo. 1984. 
  • Ærlig talt: memoarer 1944–2007 (autobiography). Cappelen. 2007. 
  • Klar tale. Cappelen. 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Ekeberg, Jan Ove; Snoen, Jan Arild (2001). Kong Carl, en uautorisert biografi (biography). Kagge. 
  • Iversen, Jan Martin (1998). Fra Anders Lange til Carl I. Hagen. Oslo: NW Damm & Søn. 
  • Krogh, Lars Jacob (2003). Et festskrift til Carl I. Hagen (biography). Oslo: Fremskritt. 
  • Moen, Elisabeth Skarsbø (2006). Profet i eget land (biography). Oslo: Gyldendal.