Niels Rye

Acting Prime Minister 1884

Niels Rye

Niels Mathias Rye was civil servant and politician.

Acting Councillor of State 21 March-3 April 1884, Chief of the Ministry of the Interior, acting Prime Minister 29 March-3 April 1884.


Born at Bø in Telemark 24 August 1824, son of Lieutenant Colonel Johan Mathias Rye (1793-1860) and Christiane Elisabeth Sparre (born Gasmann).
Married to Thale Cathrine Rye, daughter of Magistrate Johan Henrik Rye (1787-1868) and Jacobine (Bina) Ulrica Alstrup (1784-1851).
Deceased in Kristiania (Oslo) 6 February 1905. Buried at Vår Frelsers gravlund (Our Saviour Cemetery) in Kristiania.

Niels Rye grew up at Bø and passed his university qualifying examination in 1841. In 1846 he achieved his law degree at the University of Christiania, the following year starting as a clerk in the postal department of the Ministry of the Interior. He advanced to clerical officer in 1857, and later that year became head of division in the General Post Directorate. In 1860 he shifted to the Ministry of the Navy and Postal Affairs, where he was appointed director general in 1863.

In 1869 Rye was appointed governor of the County of Søndre Bergenhus (Hordaland), in 1877 governor of the Country of Bratsberg (Telemark) and in 1880 diocesan county governor of Kristiania (Oslo).

Rye represented Bergen at the Storting 1877-1879, and headed a government-appointed education commission in 1877.

Towards the end of Prime Minister Christian Selmer’s Government, Rye in late March 1884 was appointed acting councillor of state and chief of the Ministry of the Interior. Selmer and several of the ministers had then already left their posts due to the impeachment ruling towards them in the issue of government ministers’ attendance in Storting meetings, and Ole Andreas Bachke was acting prime minister. When Bachke left the Government on 29 March, Rye became acting head of government in the caretaker government until the Schweigaard/Løvenskiold Government took over on 3 April 1884. This government was then succeeded by Johan Sverdrup’s Liberal Government on 26 June that year.

Rye continued as diocesan county governor in Kristiania until he resigned at the age of 80 in January 1905. He died some weeks later.


Norsk Biografisk Leksikon
State Archive in Oslo
National Library of Norway