When VG newspaper recently listed the most important Norwegians of the last 200 years, Christian Magnus Falsen came second only to Henrik Ibsen. Some claim that he should perhaps have topped the list.
Norwegian history would have looked quite different without him. In 1814 he was one of the most influential leaders in the Norwegian independence struggle. He wrote the most important draft of the constitution and was a driving force in the constitutional assembly. But Falsen's story doesn't stop there. Ten years later he was pushed out of his public office by widespread mistrust in parliament. His opponents attacked him, claiming that he had betrayed the democratic ideals of 1814 and had gone into the service of King Karl Johan.
When he died at the age of 48 he was marginalised, ill and overlooked. Norwegian historians have been arguing about Falsen's role since his death. Historian Marthe Hommerstad's biography of the statesman gives a more objective but also gentler portrayal. Falsen lived through one of world history's times of great change. The old order was coming to an end and new opportunities were opening up. His life is the story of an old state breaking apart and a new state rising up.
This was the age of the revolutions, and Falsen stood in the front rank.
To the top