Coffee beans
Celebrating Birkeland's 150th anniversary
Kristian Birkeland

Yara celebrates an extraordinary man. A man who challenged conventional thinking. A man who revolutionized agriculture and helped save millions of lives. A man whose discovery marked the beginning of Yara - Kristian Birkeland.


What feeds your curiosity?

Oslo, June 14, 2017

There aren’t many Norwegians that have revolutionized the world. Kristian Birkeland is one of them. More than 100 years ago, this young, ambitious scientist was determined to understand what caused the northern lights. His curiosity led to the discovery of fertilizer. He was the first to use electricity to extract nitrogen from the air.

Birkeland’s groundbreaking  invention in 1905 helped save millions of lives during the emerging famine in Europe and laid the foundations of Norsk Hydro, now Yara. His legacy remains an inspiration for the company. Much like Birkeland rose to the challenges of his time, Yara addresses the challenges of today and tomorrow.  Together with farmers and industrial customers, we develop innovative solutions that help feed a growing population responsibly and protect our planet. 

"Birkeland is our idol. He made revolutionary discoveries and launched theories that no one could confirm until technology caught up with him some 70 years later"

Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO of Yara

To celebrate the ingenious spirit of our founding father, Yara has teamed up with UiO: Natural Sciences and technology, The Norwegian Science Academy, The Norwegian Space Center and The Technical Museum to host a celebration of Birkeland's 150th anniversary in Oslo, Norway, between June 13 and June 16, 2017.

On June 14, Yara will host an innovation conference themed “Facing the future together” in the aula of the University of Oslo. Among many others, the conference will be attended by the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg.

Birkeland is said to have been Norway’s most foresighted scientist of all times. His discoveries changed society forever. But it wasn’t easy. Birkeland was met with a lot of resistance, especially from British scientists. He never won the Nobel Prize, even though he was nominated eight times, and he died before he turned 50.

In Yara, his legacy stays with us, and we continue to grow through new innovation and transforming global challenges into value creating business opportunities. It is with great pride that we celebrate Birkeland’s achievements and strive to follow his lead.

We use cookies on this website. If you continue to use the site without changing your settings, you agree that we may store and access these cookies on your device. To understand more about our use of cookies and to change cookie settings at any time please see
Cookie Preferences
I accept cookies