Jens Stoltenberg Biography

Jens Stoltenberg, a Norwegian politician and member of the Labour Party, has had a remarkable career in politics. Serving as the 34th Prime Minister of Norway, he made history by being the first prime minister to be re-elected since 1993. Known for his ability to boost the Norwegian economy during a global meltdown, Stoltenberg also demonstrated strong leadership during one of Norway’s most brutal terror attacks. Prior to his political career, Stoltenberg worked as a journalist, economics lecturer, and researcher. He has held various ministerial positions, including Minister of Industry and Energy and Minister of Finance. Additionally, he has served as the Leader of the Labour Party and the Opposition in the Norwegian Parliament. After a brief period as the UN Special Envoy on Climate Change, Stoltenberg assumed the role of the 13th Secretary General of NATO. In this position, he has advocated for improved cooperation among member nations, dialogue with Russia, and a robust fight against terrorism.

Quick Facts

  • Age: 64 Years
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Ingrid Schulerud
    • Father: Thorvald Stoltenberg
    • Mother: Karin Stoltenberg
    • Siblings: Camilla Stoltenberg, Nini Stoltenberg
    • Children: Anne Catharina Stoltenberg, Axel Stoltenberg, Catharina Stoltenberg
  • Born Country: Norway
  • Prime Ministers
  • Political Leaders
  • Height: 6’2″ (188 cm)
  • Notable Alumni: University Of Oslo
  • Education: University of Oslo

Childhood, Early Life & Education

Jens Stoltenberg was born on March 16, 1959, in Oslo, Norway. His father, Thorvald Stoltenberg, was a Labour Party politician, a diplomat, and a former defense and foreign minister. His mother, Karin Stoltenberg, was a prominent geneticist and had served as state secretary under various governments.

Stoltenberg spent most of his adolescent years abroad, accompanying his diplomat father and his family. This included a few years in SFR Yugoslavia, where his father served the Norwegian embassy. He grew up with his two sisters, one of whom, Camilla Stoltenberg, is now a famous physician and researcher. His other sister, Nini, was a recovering drug addict but died in 2014.

He initially attended the Oslo Waldorf School and then joined the Oslo Cathedral School. After completing school, he joined the mandatory military service of Norway and worked with the Norwegian army’s Infantry Training Centre at Evjemoen in Aust-Agder. After his service in the army, Stoltenberg joined the University of Oslo, graduating with a degree in economics in 1987.

As a Journalist & Researcher

From 1979 to 1981, Jens Stoltenberg worked as a journalist for the daily newspaper Arbeiderbladet, which was often considered a mouthpiece for the Norwegian Labour Party. After graduating with economics in 1987, he began working as a researcher of statistics at the National Statistical Institute of Norway. For a brief while, in 1989, he also worked as an hourly instructor of economics at the University of Oslo.

As a Politician

Jens Stoltenberg had his first brush with politics as a teenager, when, inspired by his sister Camilla and her Marxist-Leninist views, he participated in protest rallies against the Vietnam War. After his brief journalistic career, he devoted himself completely to politics.

In 1981, he became the information secretary of the Norwegian Labour Party (or DNA). From 1985 to 1989, he chaired the Labour Youth League. From 1990 to 1992, Stoltenberg served as the leader of the Oslo branch of the DNA. In 1993, he became part of the Norwegian parliament, the Storting, as the country’s minister of trade and energy and continued in the post till 1996. He served as Norway’s minister of finance from 1996 to 1997, under prime ministers Gro Harlem Brundtland and Thorbjørn Jagland.

In 1997, after the loss of the Labour Party, Kjell Magne Bondevik, the head of a coalition, took over as the prime minister. Following this, from 1997 to 2000, Stoltenberg headed the committee on oil and energy. In 2000, after Bondevik stepped down, following his failure to garner support for his campaign against the building of Norwegian power plants, King Harald V asked Stoltenberg to form a new government, as the leader of opposition. Thus, on March 17, 2000, Stoltenberg took over as the 34th Norwegian prime minister.

However, his government had a difficult time maintaining public support as they tried to privatize several industries. In the 2001 elections, his party failed miserably, getting only one-fourth of the votes cast. Soon, Bondevik replaced Stoltenberg as the prime minister. In 2002, he won the race for the party leadership of the DNA after defeating fellow former prime minister Jagland. In 2005, he led a Red-Green coalition with the Socialist and Labour parties. They managed to achieve a victory. He took over as the prime minister again, on October 17, 2005.

Under Stoltenberg’s administration, Norway’s unemployment rates went down. In 2009, he scripted history as the first Norwegian prime minister to be re-elected since 1993. He continued in office till October 16, 2013.

As the NATO Secretary General

In March 2014, it was declared that Jens Stoltenberg would succeed Anders Fogh Rasmussen as the NATO Secretary General. He soon resigned from his post as the leader of the Labour Party. On October 1, 2014, Stoltenberg took over as the 13th NATO Secretary General.

Under his leadership, NATO has managed a challenging global security environment by bringing in its most prominent collective defense since the Cold War. NATO has also deployed its troops in the eastern part of the Alliance. He has promoted dialogue with Russia and has supported increased expenditure on defense, focus on innovation and development, and sharing of defense duties within the Alliance. His leadership has also witnessed NATO intensify its efforts against terrorism. He has also called for a stronger cooperation between NATO and the European Union.

Post-NATO Career Plans

In late 2021, rumors suggested that Stoltenberg would be nominated as the Governor of the Norges Bank, which is the central bank of Norway. On December 14 that year, he confirmed that he had applied for the post and had clarified that he could only assume his duties once his term as NATO Secretary General ends in October 2022. Though his appointment was declared on February 4, 2022, a NATO meet in March 2022 regarding the Ukraine war changed his plans. His term as the NATO Secretary General was renewed, and he subsequently resigned from his post as the upcoming central bank governor.

Personal Life

Stoltenberg is married to Norwegian diplomat Ingrid Schulerud, who has been the Norwegian Ambassador to Belgium. Ingrid is the daughter of author and radio personality Mentz Schulerud. The couple has two children: a son, Axel Stoltenberg, born in 1989, and a daughter, Anne Catharina Stoltenberg, born in 1992. Anne is part of a pop and electronic music duo named Smerz. He is fond of biking and cross-country skiing. He also often spends his summers in Hvaler Islands in the Oslofjord.


In August 2013, Stoltenberg revealed on Facebook that he once worked as a taxi driver in Oslo in disguise. Stoltenberg said he wished to listen to the concerns of Norwegian voters and he found taxis to be the perfect place for that.

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