Søren Jaabæk

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Søren Jaabæk
Søren Jaabæk by Lærum.png
An 1891 drawing of Søren Jaabæk, by Gustav Lærum
Member of the Norwegian Parliament
In office
Constituency Lister og Mandals amt
Personal details
Born Søren Pedersen Jaabæk
(1814-04-01)1 April 1814
Died 7 January 1894(1894-01-07) (aged 79)
Political party Liberal Party
Moderate Liberal Party
Residence Holmesland in Holum
Jåbekk in Halse
Occupation Farmer, teacher, church official

Søren Pedersen Jaabæk (1 April 1814 – 7 January 1894)[1] was a Norwegian politician and farmer. Jaabæk is the longest-serving member of the Norwegian Parliament in the history of Norway, and was one of the founders of the Liberal Party of Norway.[2]

Early life[edit]

Jaabæk was born in Holum, Lister og Mandals amt, Norway in 1814. After living in Halse og Harkmark for some years, he returned to Holum following his father's death in 1849. He began his professional life working in schools and churches. He served several terms as mayor of Holum and Halse og Harkmark between 1840 and 1890.[3] In 1845, he was elected to the Norwegian Parliament, where he served until 1891.[2]

Political career[edit]

In 1865, Jaabæk founded Bondevennerne (lit. "The Friends of the Peasants", inspired by a Danish society of the same name), a political society of Norwegian farmers which evolved from a local group in Mandal to a national movement, composed of more than 300 local bodies with approximately 30,000 members in total. Through Bondevennerne, Jaabæk introduced the open popular meeting to Norwegian politics, and the first Norwegian cooperatives emerged as offshoots of the Bondevennerne movement.[4] Bondevennerne's main newspaper, Folketidende, was also founded by Jaabæk in Mandal in 1865. Jaabæk was elected chairman of Bondevennerne in 1868.[2]

In parliamentary politics, Jaabæk eventually emerged as the leader of the oppositonal alliance of farmers. He often sided with Johan Sverdrup, a major representative of the urban liberal opposition.[2] In 1869, Jaabæk and Sverdrup became political allies, thus establishing an alliance between the urban and the rural opposition, which would lead to the foundation of the Liberal Party of Norway (led by Sverdrup) in 1884.[5] By 1884, little remained of Bondevennerne. Some of the remaining bodies gradually became local Liberal bodies.[6] Jaabæk never became one of the leading figures of the new party, but he remained a supporter of Sverdrup for the remainder of his political career. For his last parliamentary term, Jaabæk represented the Moderate Liberal Party. He left the Norwegian Parliament in 1891.[1]

Jaabæk supported economic liberalism and was widely known for his opposition to high governmental spending. His alleged stubbornness in economic matters earned him the nickname "Neibæk" ("No-bæk").[2] Due to his rationalistic approach to Christianity, as well as his view of positions in the church as ordinary professions, he became at odds with the Norwegian clergy in the 1870s.[3] Jaabæk supported many democratic reforms, and spoke up for universal suffrage and equal marriage rights for men and women.[7]

Jaabæk died in 1894.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Søren Pedersen Jaabæk" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Social Science Data Services (NSD). Retrieved 9 January 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Henriksen, Petter, ed. (2005). "Søren Pedersen Jaabæk". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). 8 (4th ed.). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. pp. 236–237. ISBN 978-82-573-1543-6. 
  3. ^ a b "Søren Jaabæk (1814-1894)". National Archival Services of Norway (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on March 11, 2008. Retrieved 8 January 2009. 
  4. ^ Nerbøvik, Jostein (1999). Norsk historie 1860–1914: Eit bondesamfunn i oppbrot. Volume five of Norsk historie (in Norwegian). Oslo: Det Norske Samlaget. p. 110. ISBN 978-82-521-5186-2. 
  5. ^ "Johan Sverdrup". Stortinget.no (in Norwegian). 22 January 2008. Retrieved 8 January 2009. 
  6. ^ Nerbøvik 1999: p. 130
  7. ^ Blom, Ida; Sogner, Sølvi, eds. (2006). Med kjønnsperspektiv på norsk historie (in Norwegian). Oslo: Cappelen. p. 219. ISBN 978-82-02-24103-2.