«The adjudication needed for the award of the Peace Prize shall be carried out by the committee of the Norwegian Storting referred to in the will, known as the Norwegian Nobel Committee». (Statutes of the Nobel Foundation, § 6)
According to Alfred Nobel's will, the prize to champions of peace is to be awarded by a committee "of five persons, to be elected by the Norwegian Storting". The rules subsequently adopted by the Storting state that the members of the Nobel Committee are elected for six years terms, and can be re-elected. As far as possible, the composition of the Committee is to reflect the relative strengths of the political parties in the Storting. The Committee chooses its own chairman and deputy chairman. The Director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute serves as the Committee's secretary.
During the early decades of the Committee's work, it was normal for both incumbent representatives of the Storting and government ministers to be members. The first Committee thus consisted of Prime Minister Johannes Steen, Foreign Minister Jørgen Løvland, Storting representative John Lund, Professor of Law Bernhard Getz, and the national bard Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson.
Committee member criteria changes
With this heavy representation by prominent politicians, it became difficult over time to convince the surrounding world that the Committee was not influenced in its work by Norwegian authorities. In 1936, in connection with the Nobel Peace Prize award to Carl von Ossietzky, the practice was changed so as to bar current members of the Government from sitting on the Committee. In 1977, out of continued regard for the Committee's independence, a further restriction was imposed whereby current members of the Storting can not be elected to the Nobel Committee. At the same time, the Committee changed its name from the Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Storting to the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
Nobel Committee meeting room
The Nobel Committee conducts all its meetings in a special committee room at the Nobel Institute. The interior was designed by architect Carl Berner. On the walls of the committee room there are photo portraits of all individual laureates and the logos of all prize-winning institutions and organizations.