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Olav Thon

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Olav Thon
Thon in 2013
Born (1923-06-29) 29 June 1923 (age 101)
Ål, Hallingdal, Norway
OccupationReal estate developer
EmployerOlav Thon Gruppen
TitleChairman of Olav Thon Gruppen
  • Inger-Johanne Thon
    (died 2018)
  • Sissel Berdal Haga
    (m. 2019)

Olav Thon (born 29 June 1923) is a Norwegian real estate developer. His Olav Thon Group is Norway's largest private real estate company, with 450 properties, including 60 hotels.[1][2]

His authorized biography, Olav Thon: Billionaire in a Parka, was written by Hallgrim Berg, a Norwegian politician and a folk musician; a translated version was published in English in October 2009.[3]



Olav Thon bought his first building in 1951 and opened his first restaurant in 1966. His company owns a total of 450 properties in Norway, including shopping malls, office buildings, retail stores, and hotels. His principal holdings are the private companies Stormgård AS and Thongård AS, in addition to a major stake in the publicly traded company Olav Thon Eiendomsselskap ASA.[1]

Besides his hotel and real estate investments, in 1992, Olav Thon has acquired Unger Fabrikker AS. Unger Fabrikker AS is a Fredrikstad based chemical manifacturer with a focus of anionic surfactants.[4] [5]



In an article in the Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv on 10 September 2008, Olav Thon's solicitor, John Christian Elden, announced that Olav Thon intends to give away his entire fortune through the establishment of an independent foundation that focuses on the medical sciences.[6][1] On 10 December 2013 he announced the decision for the entire 71.9% stake in his real estate company Olav Thon Eiendomsselskap ASA to give for charity trust of his own.[7] Therefore, later, in February 2014, his personal assets estimated around US$1 billion.[8]

Thon has no heirs.[1]

Personal life


Thon lives just outside Oslo, in Sollihøgda, Hole municipality. Thon is a Christian and is married but does not have any heirs.[9][10] He grew up as a "farm boy who only went to the city to sell fox pelts". He enjoys various outdoor activities and is an honorary member of the Norwegian Trekking Association.[1] Thon is "proud of his success, and his large tax bill, which he says he is glad to pay".[1]

Thon was appointed honorary doctorate at Karlstad University in 2013.[11]

Thon was married to Inger-Johanne Thon (1 August 1919 - 26 April 2018)[12] until her death in 2018. Although he lived with his partner, Sissel Berdal Haga, for over 30 years, he did not divorce his wife, as she was suffering from Alzheimers.[13]

Thon married his long-time partner, Sissel Berdal Haga on 21 June 2019.[14]

On 29 June 2023, Thon turned 100.[15]


  1. ^ The couple were separated for several years by the time of her death.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "#198 Olav Thon". The World's Billionnaires. Forbes. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  2. ^ "Tobacco heir emerges as Norway’s wealthiest", Aftenposten, October 19, 2006.
  3. ^ Berg, Hallgrim (2009). Olav Thon - Billionaire in a Parka. ISBN 978-0942323436.
  4. ^ https://unger.no/about-unger/history/
  5. ^ https://olavthon.no/om-Olav-Thon-Gruppen/Virksomheter/Ovrige-Virksomheter/
  6. ^ Thon set to give away his fortune, The Norway Mail, September 10, 2008.
  7. ^ "Gir alt til stiftelse" (in Norwegian). nenyheter. 2013-12-10.
  8. ^ "Bill Gates Tops Forbes List of Billionaires for Seventh Year". Bloomberg. February 26, 2004.
  9. ^ DagenMagazinet - Olav Thon om kristen arbeidsetikk
  10. ^ "Norge IDAG - Thon til Oslo Symposium". Archived from the original on 2015-04-05. Retrieved 2011-03-21.
  11. ^ Radio, Sveriges. "Nye hedersdoktorn Olav Thon slår tillbaka mot kritiken - P4 Värmland". Retrieved 2017-08-26.
  12. ^ https://www.nettavisen.no/nyheter/innenriks/olav-thons-kone-inger-johanne-thon-er-dod/s/12-95-3423482056
  13. ^ "Olav Thon: Derfor har han hatt både kone og kjæreste i over tretti år" (in Norwegian). Nettavisen. 10 June 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  14. ^ "Mann og kone: Olav Thon (95) har sagt ja til Sissel Berdal Haga (78)" (in Norwegian). E24. 21 June 2019. Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  15. ^ "Olav Thon fyller 100 år: – Uten ham hadde vi ikke vært noen ting". nrk.no (in Norwegian). 29 June 2023. Retrieved 29 June 2023.

Further reading