Even Nobel Prize feels pinch of austerity

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - DECEMBER 10: A security officer performs a security check with a sniffer dog prior to the Nobel Prize Ceremony at Concert Hall on December 10, 2012 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Pascal Le Segretain

You may not be able to see it with all the gowns and bling on display, but austerity has hit the annual Nobel Prize dinner and ceremony in Sweden.

According to a report by Reuters, even the prize money itself has been reduced: $1.2 million each, down from around $1.5 million in recent years.

"We are in this forever and we should safeguard it (the prize)," said Nobel Foundation Executive Director Lars Heikensten about the roughly $450 million bequest by dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel that forms the base for the awards. Heikensten is a former Swedish central bank chief known for cutting staff.

Organizers say cuts have been made in Monday's gala dinner but predict that guests will not notice them. They include fewer limos and less costly menu items and flowers.

The black-tie dinner and ceremony tops a week of events in Stockholm for the winners of the literature, physics, chemistry, medicine and economics prizes Kylie Minogue headlines a concert Tuesday, with Sarah Jessica Parker and Gerard Butler as hosts.

The Nobel Peace Prize will be presented to the European Union at a ceremony in Oslo on Monday.