Hartvig Nissen School

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Hartvig Nissen School
Hartvig Nissens skole
Hartvig Nissen upper secondary school, Oslo Norway.jpg
Niels Juels gate 56, Oslo
School type Public secondary school
Founded 1849
Principal Eva Blomfeldt
Grades 11–13
Age range 16–19
Classes offered General education
Language Norwegian
Campus Urban

The Hartvig Nissen School (Norwegian: Hartvig Nissens skole), informally referred to as Nissen, is a gymnasium in Oslo, Norway. It is located in the neighborhood Uranienborg in the borough of Frogner.


It was established in 1849 by Hartvig Nissen and was originally a private girl's school, named Nissen's Girls' School (Nissens Pigeskole, later changed to the modern spelling Nissens Pikeskole). The school was privately owned, usually by its headmasters, until it was sold to Christiania Municipality in 1918.[1] Nissen's Girls' School was the first institution in Norway to offer examen artium—the university entrance exam—for women. Then-owner Bernhard Cathrinus Pauss also established the first tertiary education for women in Norway, a women's teacher's college named Nissen's Teachers' College (Nissens Lærerinneskole).

The former school building in Øvre Vollgate 15, now the seat of Bokhandelens Hus

Nissen's Girls' School mainly served the higher bourgeoisie, and was one of three leading private higher schools in Oslo, alongside Frogner School and Vestheim School. Due to its location in the wealthy borough of Frogner and also because few working-class Norwegians attended gymnasium before the "education revolution" that started in the 1960s, it remained a school of choice for pupils from affluent families also after it was acquired by the municipality, although today, it has pupils from all parts of Oslo and with more diverse backgrounds. Its alumni include two members of the Norwegian Royal Family, Princess Ragnhild and Princess Astrid.

From 1860 to 1899, the school was located in a building in Øvre Vollgate 15 in central Oslo. The current school building in Niels Juels gate 56 was commissioned by then-owner Bernhard Cathrinus Pauss in 1897, designed by Hartvig Nissen's son, architect Henrik Nissen, and built by Harald Kaas. The school was opened for boys in 1955 and it changed its name to the current one in 1963. In 1970, it also acquired the buildings of its neighbour, the former Frogner School. The school is famous for its focus on theatre, having many actors among its alumni. It was also the first school in Norway to introduce a pupil's council, in 1919.


Bernhard Cathrinus Pauss, the school's last headmaster-owner

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable people who have graduated from Nissen's Girls' School/Hartvig Nissen School include:


  1. ^ Solbakken, Tove: Dueliggjort til det frie Arbeide paa Videnskabens Mark – privatskoletiden i Kristiania. In Byminner No. 2-2012, pp. 12-27

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Nissens Pigeskole og Privatseminar, Nissens Pigeskole, Christiania, 1900
  • Einar Boyesen (ed.): Nissens pikeskole 1849–1924, Oslo 1924
  • Nils A. Ytreberg: Nissen pikeskole 1849–1949, Oslo 1949
  • Maja Lise Rønneberg: Hartvig Nissens skole 150 år: 1849–1999, Oslo 1999