Nils Claus Ihlen

Nils Claus Ihlen (24 July 1855 – 22 March 1925) was a Norwegian engineer and politician for the Liberal Party. He served as Foreign Minister of Norway from 1913 to 1920.

Nils Claus Ihlen
Nils Claus Ihlen.jpg
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
31 January 1913 – 21 June 1920
Prime MinisterGunnar Knudsen
Preceded byJohannes Irgens
Succeeded byChristian Michelet
Minister of Industrial Provisioning
In office
5 July 1918 – 11 July 1918
Prime MinisterGunnar Knudsen
Preceded byTorolf Prytz
Succeeded byHaakon Hauan
Minister of Labour
In office
19 March 1908 – 2 February 1910
Prime MinisterGunnar Knudsen
Preceded byJørgen Brunchorst
Succeeded byBernhard Brænne
Personal details
Born(1855-07-24)24 July 1855
Skedsmo, Akershus, United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway
Died22 March 1925(1925-03-22) (aged 69)
Skedsmo, Akershus, Norway
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)Constance Bruun (1892-1894)
Henriette Marie Ihlen (1898-1925)
Children3 sons

Personal lifeEdit

He was born in Skedsmo as the oldest son of Wincentz Thurmann Ihlen (1826–1892) and Birgitte Elisabeth Mørch (1830–1913). He was a first cousin of Christian Ihlen, nephew of Niels Ihlen and Jacob Thurmann Ihlen,[1] great-grandson of Constitutional founding father Ole Clausen Mørch and brother-in-law of Per Lund.[2]

From August 1892 he was married to actress Constance Bruun, but she died in October 1894. In February 1898 he married Colonel's daughter Henriette Marie Lund (1870–1962). The couple had several daughters and sons. The sons Nils, Joakim and Alf (Nils was the half-brother of the other two) took over the family business.[1]


Ihlen took his education at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule of Zürich, and returned to Norway in 1877 to work one year for the Norwegian State Railways. In 1878 he was hired by his father at the iron works Strømmens Værksted (then named W. Ihlen, Strømmen) to work as a manager. In 1883 he took over as owner of the factory. He left in 1908,[2] leaving his younger brothers in control.

Ihlen first entered politics as mayor of Skedsmo municipality, serving from 1989 to 1904 and 1907 to 1910. He was elected to the Parliament of Norway in 1907, representing the rural constituency of Mellem Romerike.[2]

After one year he was appointed Minister of Labour in the first cabinet Knudsen. During his tenure, there were several achievements; including the opening of the Rjukan Line and the Bergen Line railways. His seat in parliament was taken by Martin Løken in 1908 and 1909, and Ihlen was not re-elected in 1910. The first cabinet Knudsen fell in February 1910, but when the second cabinet Knudsen assumed office on 31 January 1913, Ihlen was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. He served through the entire World War I, during which Norway balanced on a thin line of neutrality. For some days in July 1918 he had also served as Minister of Industrial Provisioning. In June 1920 Ihlen resigned along with the rest of the second cabinet Knudsen, leaving national politics.[2]

Nils Claus Ihlen died in 1925 in Kristiania.[1]

Ihlen DeclarationEdit

The Ihlen Declaration was a statement made on 22 July 1919 by the Nils Claus on the topic of Denmark's sovereignty over Greenland, in which Ihlen declared verbally to the Danish Minister that "...the plans of the Royal [Danish] Government respecting Danish sovereignty over the whole of Greenland...would be met with no difficulties on the part of Norway." The declaration became an issue when the question was raised whether the statement was binding on Norway. The question eventually went all the way to the Permanent Court of International Justice in the form of the Eastern Greenland Case in 1933.[3][4]


  1. ^ a b c Berg, Roald. "Nils Ihlen". In Helle, Knut (ed.). Norsk biografisk leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d "Nils Claus Ihlen" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Social Science Data Services (NSD). Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  3. ^ Cheng, Bin; Georg Schwarzenberger (2006). General Principles of Law as Applied by International Courts and Tribunals. Oxford: Cambridge University Press. pp. 198–9. ISBN 0-521-03000-5.
  4. ^ Fitzmaurice, Malgosia; Olufemi Elias (2005). Contemporary issues in the law of treaties. Eleven International Publishing. pp. 13–4. ISBN 90-77596-06-2.
Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Labour
Succeeded by
Preceded by Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Preceded by Norwegian Minister of Industrial Provisioning
5 July 1918–11 July 1918
Succeeded by