The Kavli Foundation donates founder Fred Kavli’s 200-acre family property in Norway to the Romsdal Museum

by The Kavli Foundation

New programs to focus on entrepreneurship and science

The Author

The Kavli Foundation

Norwegian-American entrepreneur and philanthropist, Fred Kavli, often spoke of his family home and credited its pristine surroundings as sparking his interest in science. In a conversation with long-time friend, actor and writer, Alan Alda, Fred Kavli talked about nature, science, innovation, and philanthropy. “In those days, I used to ski across the vast white expanses of a quiet and lonely mountaintop. Sometimes the northern lights would dance across the sky and down to the white-clad peaks. During those moments, I pondered the mysteries of the universe, the planet, nature, and humankind. And I would never lose that fascination,” remarked Fred Kavli in 2007.  

Kavli Moen Gård, the birthplace of Fred Kavli, and home to the Fred Kavli Knowledge Center (Fred Kavli Kunnskapssenter), will continue to spark people’s fascination with nature and science for generations to come. Under the ownership and leadership of the Romsdal Museum, new programs will be developed to align with their mission and the interests of Fred Kavli, including entrepreneurship, science, and the cultural and historical significance of the region.

“Local ownership of Kavli Moen Gård and the Fred Kavli Kunnskapssenter (Fred Kavli Knowledge Center) by the Romsdal Museum will be beneficial for preserving the special character of this place and developing future educational programs,” said Kavli Foundation Chairman of the Board of Directors, Rockell Hankin. “Romsdal Museum is a strong institution with experience in developing impactful programs that engage local communities throughout the region, and in Norway, including visitors from around the world. The foundation’s board of directors trusts in Romsdal’s vision and expertise to engage various publics in areas of importance to Fred Kavli.”

Through the Fred Kavli Knowledge Center, Romsdal Museum honors the contributions of Fred Kavli as an entrepreneur and as a philanthropist. Fred Kavli was the founder of Kavlico, a company that developed sensors for the defense, aerospace, and automotive industries. After he sold the company in the late 1990s, Fred Kavli established The Kavli Foundation in 2000 to advance science for the benefit of humanity. He spent the remainder of his years as an active philanthropist, supporting basic research, until he died in 2013.

“The Romsdal Museum expresses its profound gratitude to The Kavli Foundation for a magnificent gift and for the fruitful collaboration over the past three years. This donation is a milestone in the history of the Romsdal Museum,” remarked Chairman Anders Talleraas and Director Hans-Olav Solli.

As part of the agreement with Romsdal Museum, The Kavli Foundation will provide five years of operating support and a commitment to host an event that coincides with the biennial Kavli Prize. Every two years, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters announces The Kavli Prize, recognizing scientific breakthroughs in astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience. One million dollars is awarded in each of the fields and laureates are honored by the Royal Family in a ceremony held in Oslo, Norway.

Additionally, The Kavli Foundation will provide five years financial support to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) for its graduate student summer school programs held at Kavli Moen Gård and the Fred Kavli Knowledge Center. NTNU was Fred Kavli’s alma mater and he endowed the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience in 2007, currently directed by Nobel-Prize winning scientists Edvard and May-Britt Moser. There are 20 Kavli Institutes internationally focused on basic research in astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience, and theoretical physics.

The official transfer of ownership takes place on December 31, 2023. In 2024, the Romsdal Museum and The Kavli Foundation will hold a celebratory event to mark the occasion with accompanied activities and tours.

“We are thrilled that Romsdal Museum and the governing bodies of the region have accepted our donation. We all share a vision to celebrate and honor the contributions of Fred Kavli and the richness of this region with Norwegians and people globally,” remarked Kavli Foundation President, Cynthia M. Friend.”